July is UV Safety Month

Warm weather usually means lots of time outdoors grilling out on the deck and playing in the pool. July is UV Safety Month and encourages people to protect themselves from the sun.

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or other sources, like tanning beds, can be a big risk factor for developing skin cancer. When going outside, always take measures to protect yourself from the sun.

Listed below are tips on what you can do to prevent yourself and loved ones:

  • Limit or avoid exposure to the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Wear sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear clothing that has built-in SPF in the fabric or wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and long pants.
  • Wear a hat that protects your scalp and shades your face, neck, and ears.
  • ALWAYS protect your skin—Skin is still exposed to UV rays even on cloudy days and during the winter months. Use extra caution around water, snow, and sand as they reflect the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Avoid use of tanning beds and sun lamps.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ocular melanoma.

According to the 2012 Indiana Cancer Facts & Figures report, skin cancers affect more people than lung, breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.  The two most common types of cancer, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable; however, melanoma, the third most common form of skin cancer, is deadlier.

The best way to detect skin cancer early is to recognize changes in skin growths or the appearance of new growths. Adults should thoroughly examine their skin about once a month.  New or unusual lesions or a progressive change in a lesion’s appearance–size, shape or color, should be evaluated promptly by a health care provider.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its skin cancer final recommendation statement in May. In an update to its 2003 recommendation, the USPSTF now recommends counseling children, adolescents and young adults ages 10 to 24 years who have fair skin about minimizing their exposure to ultraviolet radiation to reduce risk for and prevent incidence of skin cancer. The final recommendation statement is available on the USPSTF Web site at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsskco.htm.

To learn more information about skin cancer and melanoma, please refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012.



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