Common sense makes all the difference when it comes to protecting yourself and your family
By Lisa Davis
As the Memorial Day weekend kicks off a summer in the sun, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention wants to help people avoid skin cancers both common and less so, from basal cell carcinoma to melanoma. As part of the council’s skin cancer awareness program, it has declared the Friday before Memorial Day weekend Don’t Fry Day.
The goal is to reduce the number of skin cancer cases from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and encourage sun safety with tips such as wearing protective clothing, applying sunblock, and getting vitamin D through food, including mushrooms, soy milk and fatty fishes like salmon.
Basal cell carcinoma accounts for about 80 percent of all skin cancers in the U.S. It is found most often on the face, neck, hands, as well as other parts of the body frequently exposed to the sun. It can appear differently: a red patch or irritated area; a small, pink pearly bump; a white or yellow scar-like area; a smooth growth with a dent in the center; or an open sore that bleeds or oozes. Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread throughout the body, and deaths are very rare.
Melanomas, on the other hand, are malignant tumors and cause most skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. However, because basal cell carcinomas often occur on the face, they can cause cosmetic damage, pain, and functional difficulties if not diagnosed and treated early.
As summer approaches, we thought a quick reminder would be helpful on how to protect yourself and your kids. Simple prevention tips include what the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention calls Slip! Slop! Slap! (slipping on a shirt, slopping on broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slapping on a wide-brimmed hat, and wearing sunglasses). For ideas about sunscreen products, read Stay Sun Safe, from Top to Toe. Also remember that the best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly to note changes in moles and other growths.
Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Individuals with lighter skin are more susceptible to UV damage, although people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Those who have a family history of skin cancer, lots of moles or freckles, or a history of severe sunburns early at a young age are at a higher risk of skin cancer.
Tip Spa Treatment We Love That Pampers Overexposed Skin: Kohler Waters Spa’s new Citrus Reviver treatment ($130) uses cold stones and cool water to bring blood flow and oxygen to skin overexposed to the sun, and Hello Yellow lotion from Fresh contains shea butter, coconut butter, and vitamin E, which soothes sun-damaged areas.
Get Social with Don’t Fry Day: Check them out on Twitter. Also read Don’t Fry Day’s list of sun cancer prevention resources, which includes a UV Index from AccuWeather and a sunburn Q & A.