Skin cancer is the number one cause of cancer in the United States and accounts for more than half of all diagnosed cancers in the country. According to the American Cancer Society , more than 2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing this potentially deadly condition.
- Avoid the sun at its peak hours
The sun emits the most ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you can, avoid being exposed to the sun’s rays at this time. If your plans require that you be outside, seek shade as much as you can throughout the day.
- Do not tan deliberately
Even if you appreciate the look of a new tan, avoid exposing your unprotected skin to the sun’s harmful rays (or tanning beds) deliberately. Doing so will not only prematurely age your skin, but will also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
- Get the right gear
Choosing the right clothing, hat, and sunglasses can be very helpful in keeping harmful UV from reaching your skin. When out in the sun, wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and 100% UV protective sunglasses.
- Apply your sunscreen liberally
Whenever you are anticipating sun exposure, be sure to apply sunscreen to any areas of skin that are not covered by protective clothing. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater that provides protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. After your initial application, reapply after two hours have passed or if you have been sweating or exposed to water.
- Use extra caution in some environments
Snow, sand, and bodies of water can reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your risk for developing a sunburn. Take the necessary precautions when in these environments during the sunny parts of the day.
The Cancer Care department at West Hills Hospital is dedicated to providing a comfortable, patient-centered experience from the initial evaluation through the treatment process. To learn more about cancer prevention and treatment, call West Hills today at (818) 676-4000.