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Topic of the Month: Skin Cancer

Topic of the Month: Skin Cancer

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Watch “Dear 16 Year Old Me” and share its powerful message with others.

Don’t Fry Day!

To help reduce rising rates of skin cancer from overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many of the following tips as possible:

What are the most common types of skin cancer?
Skin cancers are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancer). The three most common types are:

Who is at risk?
Everyone is at some risk for melanoma, but increased risk depends on several factors: sun exposure, number of moles on the skin, skin type and family history (genetics).

Are some people more prone to sun damage?

Everyone's skin and eyes can be affected by the sun and other forms of UV rays. People with light skin are much more likely to have sun damage, but darker-skinned people, including African Americans and Hispanic Americans, also can be affected.

How do I protect myself from UV rays?

It isn't possible or practical to avoid sunlight completely, and it would be unwise to reduce your level of activity to avoid the outdoors because physical activity is important for good health. But too much sunlight can be harmful. There are some steps you can take to limit your amount of exposure to UV rays.

Some people think about sun protection only when they spend a day at the lake, beach, or pool. But sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens every time you are in the sun. "Slip! Slop! Slap!… and Wrap" is a catch phrase that can help you remember the 4 key methods you can use to protect yourself from UV radiation:

How do I examine my skin?

The first line of defense against skin cancer starts with you. Examine your skin on a regular basis for signs of skin cancer and consult a dermatologist if you notice anything suspicious. These simple steps can help ensure that skin cancer is diagnosed in its earliest, most treatable stage. Below you will find information about how to examine your skin and what signs to look for.

How do I protect my skin and get enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system. While a limited amount of vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the health risks of UV exposure — including skin cancer — are great. Instead, The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests you get your recommended daily 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D a day from food sources like oily fish, fortified dairy products and cereals, and supplements.

Additional resources:

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