Prevent Skin Cancer All Year Long with Sunscreen, Hat

skin cancer, prevention, sunscreen, UVA, UVB, broad spectrumAlthough skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed nationwide, simple steps can help people reduce their risk.

“The easiest way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin with clothing,” said Dr. Zoe D. Draelos, a board-certified dermatologist and consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine. “Keep a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses near your door so you can put them on before you go outside. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants also can help protect from the damaging rays of the sun.”

Skin cancer can be easily treated when detected early, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Many health professionals recommend checking your own skin monthly for moles or skin lesions that are changing, growing or bleeding. Have a doctor check your skin annually.

One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the following tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Stay in the shade – especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Do not allow your skin to burn.
  • Avoid tanning and using UV tanning booths.
  • Wear clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of 15 or higher. If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce – two tablespoons – of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or right after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Apply sunscreen to babies over the age of six months.

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology, Skin Cancer Foundation news releases

+ Read more about indoor tanning and skin cancer risk

+ Learn about cancer care services at Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System

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