We’re all relieved that the sun is finally back out and the days grow warmer and longer. But with increased exposure to the sun comes dangers. May is what many people consider the beginning of summer, and it’s also Melanoma and Skin Cancer Prevention Month. Melanoma (the most dangerous kind of skin cancer) and skin cancer in general are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. So while you’re soaking up the summer rays, please take your health into consideration.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, but fortunately it’s also highly preventable. If it’s found early enough, skin cancer has a good chance of being cured. In recognition of this Skin Cancer Prevention Month, we’d like to share a few tips to help keep your skin healthy and cancer free.
As medical professionals, we cannot stress enough the importance of this. While we encourage people to get outside for exercise and relaxation, the sun can cause so much damage over the course of a lifetime. In order to protect your skin from the sun, we recommend using sunscreen on all exposed skin while you are outside. Typically, one application of sunscreen should only be expected to last for two hours; after that, it’s time to reapply. If you want the best protection, use broad-spectrum SPF-50 sunscreen. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays (both of which are harmful).
Sunscreen is not fail-safe. While sunscreen helps protect us from harmful rays, the longer you are exposed to the sun (especially during periods with a high UV Index) the more likely it is that you will experience skin damage and an increased risk for skin cancer. In addition to wearing sunscreen, you should still remember to seek shade, wear hats that provide shade, or stay indoors during peak sunlight hours. The UV Index is a measurement of local UV intensity, and is an indicator of the danger of unprotected exposure to the sun. You can get a daily local forecast for the UV Index from the National Weather Service through www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.
Although we at Vein Institute of Connecticut specialize in vein treatment, we care greatly about your overall health. Skin Cancer is all too common, but by taking the proper precautions individuals can reduce the risk of getting skin cancer. For more information about sun burning facts, please visit http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/doc/sunscreen.pdf. If you’d like to learn more about skin cancer, please visit http://www.skincancer.org. We hope you have a fun and safe summer in the sun!