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Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of skin color, gender or age. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. These facts may be alarming, but because skin cancer is mainly a behavioral disease, it is highly preventable.
“About 86 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays,” said Perry Robins, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “That’s why embracing proper sun protection is critical year-round. You’ll reduce your skin cancer risk and help prevent wrinkles, leathery skin and brown spots.”
Follow The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Prevention Guidelines to stay sun-safe:
• 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.
For more information, visit the Foundation’s website, SkinCancer.org, which features more than 600 pages of medically-reviewed content on skin cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.