Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer this Summer

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer this Summer

Summer is all about having fun in the sun. Whether you’re at the beach or the pool this summer, it’s important to stay safe and protect yourself from skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and it is our goal to reduce those cases. Experts at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center recommend following these tips the next time you’re out in the sun.
1. Stay in the Shade
The sun’s strongest UV light is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try visiting the beach during the early morning hours or around sunset. You can test how strong UV light is by looking at your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s rays are very strong and you should protect yourself.

2. Wear a Hat
Your face, neck and ears are the most vulnerable places for skin cancer to appear. A hat with a 2 or 3 inch brim is ideal for optimal coverage.

3. Wear Sunglasses
Your eyes can become damaged by UV radiation from the sun. UV radiation can cause cataracts and the development of skin cancer on the eyelid or on the surface of the eye.  Protect your eyes by wearing dark sunglasses that block UV rays.

4. Use Sunscreen
Broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is the best to use for skin cancer prevention. Sunscreen should be applied liberally to the skin 15-30 minutes prior to going outdoors, and should be reapplied every two hours.

5. Wear Clothing
Covering as much skin as possible is the best way to prevent skin cancer. Clothing that is dry and dark in color is the most protective. If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through and harm your skin.

Don’t forget to visit your doctor and dermatologist annually. If unusual freckles or moles appear, or if you notice any changes with existing freckles or moles, see your doctor as soon as possible. It is important to do a self-check every month. Skin cancer is easy to prevent and is curable if detected early.

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