Skin cancer has become the most common form of cancer in the United States, as stated by the American Cancer Society (ACS). It is also the most preventable form of cancer. Sturdy Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Care physicians recommend practicing safe-sun habits:
- “Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher every day to all exposed skin, even in the winter,” says Dr. OlympiaKovich, board certified dermatologist. “For prolonged outdoor activity or a day at the beach, use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.” The term “broad-spectrum” means the sunscreen 1provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply roughly every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Sunscreens are available in many forms – lotions, creams, ointments, gels, sprays, and wipes, to name a few. Some cosmetics, such as moisturizers and foundations, are considered sunscreen products if they contain sunscreen. Don’t forget about your lips; sunscreen also comes in lip balm form, and some lipsticks even contain sunscreen.
- Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Research has shown that long hours in the sun without protecting your eyes increase your chances of developing certain eye diseases.
- Seek shade when available, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Use extra caution near water, sand, and snow, because they reflect and intensify the rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn and skin damage.
- Avoid tanning booths and beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and indoor tanning can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
- Perform regular self skin examinations. If you notice anything new, changing, growing, itching or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist.
For more information about skin cancer prevention, screening, and treatment, visit the Sturdy Memorial Hospital website at www.sturdymemorial.org/serv_skincancercare.html.