Skin Cancer Prevention
Skin cancer is preventable. By practicing sun safety and avoiding the use of tanning beds you can prevent skin cancer in yourself and in your children. Remember:
- Sunburns, especially in childhood, show a strong correlation with the development of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma later in life.
- A single severe sunburn in childhood may double one’s risk of developing melanoma.
- Squamous cell carcinoma appears to be related to cumulative sun exposure (even on a chronic low dose basis – so you don’t need to get a sunburn to increase your risk!!)
- The use of artificial tanning beds has been associated with a significant increase in risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer
Sun safety includes the following simple behaviours:
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. or any time the UV Index* is 3 or higher
- Cover arms and legs with loose-fitting, tightly woven and lightweight clothing
- Wear a wide-brim hat to protect head, face, neck and ears
- Stay in the shade – under trees, awnings or umbrellas and away from reflected UV rays
- Wear sunglasses:
– with UV protection of 400 – block 99% of UVA and UVB – wrap around your eyes to protect the sides of your eyes
- If you have to be out in the sun:
– use sunscreen** with an SPF of 30 or higher – apply at least 20 minutes before going into the sun – reapply every 2 or 3 hours – reapply after swimming or perspiring – apply generously to ensure the creation of a barrier between the sun’s rays and your skin – alternate application of sun screen with application of bug sprays – be sure to reach under the edges of your clothing, the back of your neck, your ears and other places that are often missed or forgotten And remember – these precautions are important all year round when the sun’s rays bounce off the snow, sand, water and even concrete!