Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer



According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer for those living in the United States and more than two million cases of skin cancer are newly diagnosed each year. Protect yourself this sunny season so you can enjoy being outside – cancer free.

Plan ahead. If possible, avoid being outdoors between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the most harmful.  If you are outside during peak hours, seek shade or covered areas. 

Wear and reapply sunscreen. Choose an SPF of at least 30 and apply at least 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, especially if you are sweating or swimming because sunscreen particles break apart after exposure to the sun. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen on overcast days too —clouds do not block UV rays; they filter them—and sometimes only slightly.

Accessorize. Wear tightly woven, bright-colored clothing that covers most of the body. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and choose wrap-around sunglasses that absorb 100 percent of UV rays to help protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.

Protect yourself indoors. Many adults think that they only need to wear sunscreen if they are going to be outside. Wrong. Driving and working in a building with many windows also puts your skin at risk for sun damage. UV rays easily penetrate through glass. Wear sunscreen every day to protect yourself year round. Single-use packs can be easily stored in the glove department of your car or at your desk.Check medications. Some medicines, including acne treatment and birth control, can make your skin extra sensitive to sun exposure. Check with your doctor to see if yours may have such an effect.

Ditch the tanning bed. In the U.S. alone, 419,000 new skin cancer cases are attributed to indoor tanning each year. In fact, a recent study reveals that the number of skin cancer cases due to tanning beds is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking worldwide. Continued exposure also brings wrinkles, brown spots, blotchiness and leathery looking skin — not exactly the “look” you’re trying to achieve when fake baking.

Free Skin Cancer Screenings

Beginning in May, Northside Hospital will be hosting free skin cancer screenings this spring and summer to help you understand your risk for developing skin cancer. For dates, locations and registration information go to 

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