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Did you know that May is also skin cancer awareness month? In the United States, 9500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. In fact, 20% of people (1 in 5) will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills 1 American every hour. But the good news is, with early intervention and treatment, the 5-year survival rate for those with the disease is 98%. The key is catching it early, and sometimes we need help.

“Research shows that women are 9x more likely than men to find melanoma on others.” [1] The American Academy of Dermatology put out this fun video illustrating this point:

What can you do to stop skin cancer?

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests a few ideas of things you can do to help stop skin cancer: [2]

  • Wear sunscreen. Putting on sunscreen before you head outdoors can be one of the biggest things you can do in your fight to prevent skin cancer. Look for sunscreens with a high SPF rating and be diligent about applying sunscreen before you head outside.
  • “Motivate teachers and administrators to teach kids about the harm of UV radiation and why it’s important to protect yourself.
  • Identify youth leaders in your community who can talk to their peers about taking steps to prevent skin cancer.
  • Partner with a local hospital, state fair, or similar organization to host a skin cancer screening event.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation (skincancer.org) has some additional tips, as well, including the following: [3]

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Finally, using the information from curemelanoma.org, follow the melanoma detection ABCs: [4]

skin cancer ABCs of prevetion

Resources:

  1. https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/programs/skin-cancer-awareness-month
  2. https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/PDFs/May2NHOToolkit.pdf
  3. http://www.skincancer.org/media-and-press/press-release-2015/skin-cancer-awareness
  4. http://www.curemelanoma.org/assets/Uploads/MRA-ABCs-Graphic.jpg
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