In many ways, the sun is good for us, it boosts our mood and provides important Vitamin D. But the sun also has a dark side, too much exposure can raise the risk of skin cancer. In order to remind people how important skin cancer prevention is, the Skin Cancer Foundation has declared May to be Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Skin cancers come as melanoma and non-melanoma types and the vast majority of both are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, both are highly prevalent. The non-melanoma type is the most common type, it’s estimated that 13 million Americans have a history of this type of cancer. The most dangerous skin cancer is melanoma, and close to 800,000 either have or are in remission for this type of cancer.
Like any cancer, skin cancer can be deadly. It is most common in Caucasians, but anyone can get it. In fact, Bob Marley, the famous reggae singer died of melanoma at age 36. In order to reduce your risk there are several steps to take. Staying in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., avoiding sunburn, staying away from tanning booths, and using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher are just a few methods of skin cancer prevention. Children should also be protected from the sun, one bad sunburn doubles their chance of developing melanoma. In most cases, skin cancers are discovered from unusual moles. You should check for these yourself once a month, and have a professional skin exam annually.
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