Friday, May 25, 2012

Think Twice Before Fun in the Sun

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States? Since May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we'd like to take this opportunity to remind you of the health hazards that come with too much sun exposure.

When referring to the summer season, many people associate the phrases "tanning" and "laying out" with summer fun. Although getting that perfect bronze tan for a few months may look great, it also has its potential consequences. Here are a few facts to illustrate just how serious skin cancer can be:

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Staying conscious about skin cancer is crucial when having fun in the sun. Think twice when packing for summer vacation, and always pack sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 for the family.
  • More people have been diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Yet it is one of the few cancers that, in most cases, can be prevented.
  • The risk of skin cancer is much higher for those with fair skin than those with darker skin. Naturally dark-skinned individuals have more melanin, which helps protect against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Regardless of your natural skin color, be sure to use sunscreen when outdoors particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its most intense.
  • People who choose to tan with indoor UV tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop skin cancer than those who do not. The rumors are true. Tanning indoors with UV tanners significantly increases your chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer.

We all enjoy the fresh air and beautiful sun during the summer, but we should always keep in mind that too much fun in the sun without the appropriate protection (sunscreen, protective clothing, limited sun exposure) has its consequences. Before hitting the beach or the pool, take a moment to ask yourself: Is a temporary tan really worth the permanent consequences of skin cancer?

For more information about skin cancer, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention or the Skin Cancer Foundation.

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