Summer is about fun in the sun. But, without taking the right steps to protect your skin from dangerous rays, your fun will eventually run out. And you’ll find yourself dealing with wrinkles, spots and worse — skin cancer.
One in five people will get skin cancer in their lifetime. And there are more new skin cancer cases each year than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. Melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — tripled between 1973 and 2004. But you don’t have to hide inside. Instead, you can learn to minimize the risks and take the right steps to protect your skin.
Start by staying out of tanning beds. Studies show that these increase your risk of skin cancer by 75 percent! Tanning beds are listed as one of the top cancer risks by the World Health Organization and others. And President Obama recently signed a health bill that charges a 10-percent tax for tanning salon customers.
Even with all of these risks made abundantly clear, 35 percent of 17-year-old girls in America still use tanning booths. And most of these teens also spend time in the sun on a regular basis. It is no surprise that 90 percent of pediatric melanoma cases affect girls ages 10-19.
While people of all ages enjoy the “healthy glow” a tan can give them, it is short lived. In a few years, tanning will make you look older and can damage your eyes. By then, it is often hard to stop, as many find tanning a compulsion or addiction they struggle to leave behind.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever look tan again. Instead of using the tanning bed or baking in the sun, try some of the latest tanning creams and spray tans. These look great — the days of turning orange are over — and you don’t have to worry about the risks.
Other precautions we can all take to reduce our risk of skin cancer:
- Use sunscreen whenever you are outdoors — even on overcast days
- Seek shade to help avoid direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear a hat, shirt, and sunglasses with 99-100 percent UV absorption.
For more information on how to detect skin cancer, please visit MyHealthScreenings.com for upcoming skin cancer screenings in your area.
We don’t have to stay indoors to avoid skin cancer. We only need to think about the long-term effects the sun can have on our skin while enjoying healthy outdoor activities. So get out, have fun, and be safe under the