May is when many of us like to spend more time outdoors. It’s also Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month – the perfect time to learn more about the dangers of the sun. Did you know that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime? That’s right, one in five. The good news is that skin cancer is a highly preventable disease. Here’s how you can reduce your risk:
Seek Shade – the sun is strongest between 10:00am and 4:00pm, so try to avoid being outside for prolonged periods of time during those hours and wear protection when you do.
Avoid Tanning – Whether you tan outdoors or in a tanning booth, you are increasing your risk for skin cancer. Use a sunless tanning lotion if you want your skin to look tan. Tanning booths are NOT a safe alternative.
Use Sunscreen – Apply a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day when outdoors. Reapply after two hours; or after swimming or exercising.
Don’t Get Burned – Your risk for melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, doubles if you have had five or more sunburns at any point in your life.
Cover Up – Wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses when outdoors. The more skin you can cover, the better.
Check your skin – skin cancer can show up anywhere on your body. Be aware of enlarging, darkening or changing moles, or wounds that won’t heal and report them to your health care provider.