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. The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.
Here are Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts to prevent skin cancer:
1. Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is strongest. An extra rule of thumb is the “shadow rule.” If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation is stronger; if your shadow is longer, UV radiation is less intense.
2. Do not burn. A person’s risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any point in life. Severe burns not only significantly increase your chances of developing skin cancer, but can make you ill. For severe burns, see your doctor.
3. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. UV radiation from tanning machines is known to cause cancer in humans. Indoor UV tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than those who have never tanned indoors. Tanning bed users are also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. The more time a person has spent tanning indoors, the higher the risk.
4. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection, so make the most of it with densely woven and bright- or dark-colored fabrics, which offer the best defense. The more skin you cover, the better, so choose long sleeves and long pants whenever possible.
5. Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
6. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. One six-ounce bottle of sunscreen should provide two full days of sun protection for prolonged outdoor activity.
7. An SPF of 30 is sufficient to block close to 97 percent of damaging sun rays when applied as instructed. SPF of at least 30 should be applied year-round, including cloudy days.”
8. Keep newborns out of the sun since their skin is extremely vulnerable. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months. Children are very sensitive to ultraviolet radiation- just one severe sunburn in childhood doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.
9. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. While self-exams shouldn’t replace the important annual skin exam performed by a physician, they offer the best chance of detecting the early warning signs of skin cancer. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately. To find out more about how to perform self-examination and spot a skin cancer, visit www.SkinCancer.org/selfexamination.
10. See your physician every year for a professional skin exam. You can also check www.SkinCancer.org/Tour to see if The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Road to Healthy Skin Tour is coming to your area. The Tour, presented by AVEENO and Rite Aid, provides FREE, full-body skin exams by local dermatologists.
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Mother’s Day is only a day away. Why not fill the day with one or all of these Five Fun ways to enjoy Mother’s Day!
1. Plant some flowers.
If you have some extra space in your garden, you can create a real, live Mother’s Day canvas. First, buy various packets of flower seeds that grow fast and well. Then have your kids draw a picture or write a short message (like “We love Mom”) in the garden dirt with a stick. Drop the flower seeds into the dirt lines; then cover them up, and water every few days. Before long, your picture (or message) will be blooming, and you’ll have a Mother’s Day gift that keeps on giving.
2. Have an exotic “staycation”
If you can’t afford to go to France, make France come to you! Have a picnic lunch in the park or a dinner in your own home with some croissants, cheese, bread and some French wine, and get into the flavour of the country. You can pick your favorite country and enjoy some of their culture’s finest foods and drinks from the comfort of your dining room, and create some unforgettable Mother’s Day memories!
3. Go on a shopping spree
With everything that moms do for their families throughout the year, it’s never easy to find the time for personal indulgence. Mother’s Day is the perfect time for a shopping spree, and the best way to make sure you get the gift you’ve had your eye on! Be sure to do it guilt free after all, Mother’s Day only comes once a year.
4. Get pampered
Any mom will tell you that it’s hard to put a price on the gift of relaxation, and there’s nothing more relaxing than being pampered with a “spa-day”. Use Mother’s Day to get a few hours of spa services such as a massage, facial or body scrub or a pedicure.
5. Do a walk or run for Charity
There are organized walks and runs happening all over the country on Mother’s Day, and many families make this an annual tradition. It is not too late to register for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. To find out more go to: http://www.komenminnesota.org/Komen_Race_for_the_Cure_/Race_Information.htm. On top of the physical benefits of completing in a walk or run, you can take pride in the fact that you are contributing to raising funds to help fight breast cancer.
Wishing all Mother’s a very Happy Mother’s Day that is personalized just for you! Enjoy! You deserve it!
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