I’m talking about skin cancer.
One of the few cancers over which we have an incredible amount of control.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer over their life time. One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 62 minutes).
Skin cancer is considered a life style disease and is highly preventable. What that means to me is our choices can have a direct impact on the chances of us getting it.
And we need to start the education process at a young age!
Did you know that a recent Mayo Clinic study found that over the past 40 years melanoma rates have increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men ages 18-39? Sadly, much of that is related to sunbathing and increased use of tanning beds.
Did you know that both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified UV as a proven human carcinogen?
Yes. You read that right. UV rays cause cancer and the youth of America that are being diagnosed at a rapid rate.
Tanned skin is damaged skin. Period.
A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.
Oh wait, it get’s better.
There are two types of rays we get from the sun (well actually 3 but thankfully UVC rays don’t reach us) UVB or the burning rays and UVA, the aging rays. And both rays can lead to cancer.
Until recently, sunscreen only protected us from UVB rays.
You need to look for broad spectrum protection to have coverage from both and the SPF rating systems is only for UVB Protection. Sigh.
UVA rays can penetrate clouds. And glass.
Check out this picture of a women who worked in an office space with a large window on her one side.
If you take a few minutes to examine your face, chances are great you will see more aging on your left side, or the side that gets exposure from the car WINDOW!
Want more proof that the sun makes you age prematurely? Doctors at Northwestern University are studing this man. He’s 69 years old, but the left-side of his face looks much older. Why? He drove a truck for 28 years, so the sun’s UVA rays hit that side of his skin through the window glass, penetrating his epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Just a reminder that a broad spectrum sunscreen is crucial not just at the pool this summer – but every single day!
Bottom line - with all the things in life I can not control that affect my health, being smart about the sun is simple and puts me in charge.
Next: What you think you know about sunscreen.
- 5 Tanning Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe (bellasugar.com)
- May is melanoma/skin cancer detection and prevention month (tcpalm.com)