By: Tanya Pimental
With summer just around the corner, May is the perfect time to start thinking about sun safety. It is also Melanoma Awareness Month. There are countless resources online (http://www.spotaspot.org/, http://www.skincheck.org/, http://www.melanoma.org/?gclid=CInk4OXG26gCFSRy5Qod92bz2Q) to learn more about this deadly disease and ways to be smart about our time in the sun. In this day, it is rare to know someone that is not touched by some form of cancer in their lives whether their own personal story, or a close friend or family member.
This past year, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with Melanoma. She is only in her late twenties and is not even a sun worshiper. Sad to say, I am guilty of enjoying a bit too much sun in my lifetime. Her struggle and journey has truly changed my love of the sun. And I am focused more than ever on protecting my kids when outdoors.
Fast Facts About Skin Cancer:
- Skin cancer and melanoma account for about 50% of all types of cancers diagnosed combined.
- Skin cancer is one of the more preventable types of cancer.
- More than 90% of skin cancer is causes by excessive exposure to the sun.
- Each hour, 1 person dies from skin cancer.
As a parent, I am most guilty of not reapplying. You will see me put sunblock on my blonde fair-haired children several times during a beach day, but I all too often forget to reapply it to myself. This summer, my goal is to use a higher spf and reapply often. Even when you don’t feel like you are getting too much sun, remember your sunblock doesn’t last all day. I was amazed by reading the back of the bottle today that it recommended reapplication after 80 minutes. My supply is fully stocked and now we just need to rain and cold to finally move on out.
One of the cutest ways to protect your face or your little ones is with a super cute hat. I love this site for great quality hats, http://www.wallaroohats.com/. I have not been much of a hat wearer at the beach but I may venture there this summer in an effort to get my kids to wear them. Getting sunblock on their faces is the hardest thing to do when they are ready to take off. I also am a big fan of swim shirts for my little guy. I had trouble finding them last year by the time summer hit so I have already picked up a few for this season.
Simple Things to Stay Sun Safe This Summer:
- Wear sunblock daily on your face and exposed skin
- Reapply often, especially after swimming or sweating
- Invest in a sun hat
- Sunglasses are key to protect your eyes
- Take breaks in the shade and/or avoid the sun during it’s peak hours
- Be a good example
Dermatologists are busier than ever performing skin checks. It is always great to be aware of any changes to your body. In doing some reading I found the following to be very helpful in remembering what to look for when examining your own skin. Use the “ABCD” guide to assess freckles and moles: lookout for Asymmetry, uneven Borders, uneven Color or large Diameter. If you have any concerns at all, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for a referral.
If you have an extra moment to watch this video or share it with others, it really hits home about melanoma: http://www.mostwatchedtoday.com/dear-16-year-old-me-malignant-melanoma/. Early detection and prevention are key to lowering the ever rising number of skin cancer cases.