With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about sun safety. Skin cancer is common — in fact, it’s the most common cancer in the United States — yet according to a new survey from the American Academy of Dermatology, only 41 percent of Americans surveyed said they regularly protect themselves from the sun’s rays while outdoors. More than a quarter of respondents said they never or rarely use sun protection.
Here are the survey findings at a glance:
To guard against melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, it’s important to apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Staying in the shade, especially when the sun is at its strongest (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), is also important, though it doesn’t replace the need for sunscreen. (Sunlight can hit you from other angles, and it’s reflected by sand and other surfaces.)
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Don’t forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection. Whenever possible, wear pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
If you’re among those who don’t always use sun protection, consider these disturbing statistics from the American Academy of Dermatology:
- More than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
- Nearly 20 Americans die every day from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70.
- More than two people die of skin cancer in the United States every hour.
Whether or not you practice sun smarts, it’s important to check yourself regularly for signs of melanoma. The reason? The disease has a five-year survival rate of 99 percent — but only if it’s detected early.
Look for moles and other spots on your skin, keeping in mind the ABCDE rules found here. Most melanomas tend to have one or more of these ABCDE traits, and some have several.
If you think you see signs of melanoma or another type of skin cancer, make an appointment to see a Water’s Edge Dermatology provider right away.
It’s also smart to get a skin cancer screening from a dermatologist at least once a year. Schedule a screening at Water’s Edge Dermatology here or call (877) 544-3880.
Article Written By: Marianne Wait, an award-winning health and wellness writer based in New Jersey.