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Protect and Detect

Did you know skin cancer is…

  • The most commonly diagnosed cancer, accounting for 50% of all cancers combined.
  • More deadly for African Americans, Asians and Latinos. While the risk is low for these groups, the death rate is higher.
  • Diagnosed in men more often than women and more common than prostrate, lung and colon cancer in men over 50.

If you plan to take advantage of the sunshine this summer, be sure to consider your skin—sun exposure causes 90% of skin cancer!  The good news? Prevention and periodic checking can make your time outside worry-free!

Sunlight’s rays are full of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which damages skin cells, causing sunspots, wrinkling—and sometimes skin cancer. According to skincancer.org, even 20 minutes in the sun can lead to damage.

Thankfully, sunscreen can block most of the sun’s UV radiation, greatly reducing your risk. If you plan to be outside for longer than 15 minutes, make sure to wear sunscreen with UV protection and an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher. Apply it 20-30 minutes before heading outside and remember to reapply every 2 hours. Here are a few more tips for protecting your skin:

  • Plan your jog early in the day or late in the day. The sun’s rays are most powerful between 10am and 4pm.
  • Avoid tanning booths. NEVER use UV tanning beds.
  • Cover your skin as much as comfortably possible. Clothing can act as a shield by blocking a substantial amount of UV radiation.

Check your skin once a month for signs of skin cancer by performing a head-to-toe skin self-examination. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers a step-by-step guide.

The Fund’s Member Assistance Program is a great resource for more information. Sign in to the GuidanceResources website and type “Skin Cancer” in the search box.