file photo by Boyd Loving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, With warm weather here and spending more time outdoors, the Ridgewood Health Department and the CDC would like you to be careful when you step outside. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early.
Take simple steps today to protect your skin:
• Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Put on sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
• Cover up with long sleeves and a hat.
• Check your skin regularly for changes.
Skin cancer risk factors
Certain factors may increase your skin cancer risks. By reducing those factors under your control, you may be able to decrease your risk of developing melanoma. For those that can’t be controlled, regular skin examination can increase the chance of catching a developing skin cancer early, when it is most curable.
The primary risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma and non-melanoma cancers, is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, including sunlight and tanning beds. The risk of developing skin cancers increases with greater exposure to these sources of UV radiation. People who live in areas with year-round bright sunlight, or those who spend a lot of time outdoors without protective clothing or sunscreen, are at greater risk. Early exposure, particularly frequent sunburns as a child, can also increase your skin cancer risks.
Children and teenagers who get a bad sunburn (blistering) double their chances of getting melanoma later in life Over the past 15 years, the number of teenagers who get serious sunburns has NOT decreased.
Skin cancer prevention
Avoiding a serious sunburn is as simple as remembering to Apply Cover Enjoy. Practice healthy sun protective behavior: Apply sunscreen, Cover Up, and then once protected, Enjoy yourself!
Decreasing your exposure to UV light by avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. When you do go out in the sun, make sure to wear protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Regular, thorough skin examinations are also important, especially if you have a large number of moles or other risk factors. While this will not prevent skin cancer from developing, it may help to catch it early, when it can be treated more easily. Tell your doctor if you see any new, unusual or changing moles or growths on your skin.