Since May is skin cancer awareness month, I wanted to share some statistics about skin cancer and some helpful tips to protect you from the sun. Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis and is also the MOST preventable cancer. Unfortunately, melanoma is on the rise and the number of Americans diagnosed each year has increased by over 30 percent in the past decade. There are over 5 million diagnosed cases in the U.S. every year. That is concerning to me as an esthetician!
Here are some disturbing statistics:
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles the risk for melanoma
- When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%
- More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined
I wasn’t always concerned with the effects of the sun. Like many of you reading this, I lived in a time when sunscreen wasn’t important and getting a tan was all the rage. I used to use baby oil or Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil to ensure I got the golden brown tan I wanted so badly. Growing up in Indiana, summertime was the only time to lay out so we made the most of it by getting as many rays as we could. I can’t tell you how many sunburns I have had in my childhood or lifetime, but I know for sure it was more than five.
So what can you do to help prevent skin cancer?
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad spectrum means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going outside and every 1-2 hours while outdoors
- Try to avoid being outdoors or seek shade between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun is at its hottest and most intense.
- Cover up with clothing, including wearing a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses
- Examine your skin from head-to-toe every month and see a dermatologist once a year for a full body skin exam.
I have many clients tell me they don’t go out in the sun, so they don’t wear sunscreen. I then ask them if they leave their house ever. Anytime you leave your house, you are exposed to UV radiation. It can penetrate through clouds, glass, bounce off water, snow and sand. It literally takes a minute of your time to protect your skin from the sun. Is it worth the risk?
For more information go to skincancer.org or preventcancer.org