Tips for Sun Protection and Vigilance Against Skin Cancer

Summer is the time for sandy beaches, cool swimming pools and outdoor activities.  It is also the time for increased need for sun protection and vigilance against skin cancer. The statists are sobering. The American Cancer Society estimates 73,870 cases of cutaneous melanoma were diagnosed in the United States in 2015, with overall rates of melanoma rising significantly over the past three decades. Melanoma is the most common malignancy in women aged 25-29 years and accounts for more than 7,000 deaths annually in that age group.

Although melanoma accounts for less than 2% of skin cancers, it is responsible for the vast majority of deaths from skin cancers. It is estimated that 9,940 people in the US died of melanoma in 2015.  

Melanomas originate from pigment cells (melanocytes) that can be found in the skin, uvea and meninges of the brain.

RESZKO’S TIP: Undergo regular eye exams in addition to yearly skin exams to screen for eye/uveal melanoma.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation plays a critical role in the development of most melanomas. UV radiation appears to be an effective inducer of melanoma via suppression of the skin’s own immune system, induction of melanocyte cell division, free radical production, and direct damage of melanocyte DNA.

Acute, intense sun exposure such us vacationing in sunny places with high dose of UV radiation and intermittent blistering sunburns, especially on areas of the body that only occasionally receive sun, are the greatest risk factor for the development of sun exposure–induced melanoma.

RELATED: How Your Skin Can Flourish in Summer

To keep yourself and your family safe this summer:

  1. Wear sun screen with SPF over 30
  2. Reapply sun screen every 2 hrs when outdoors
  3. Avoid direct sun exposure during the peek hours between 11 and 3
  4. Wear sun protective clothing with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPV) of at least 25.  Clothes with UPF of 25 block approximately 96% of UV radiation.
  5. Learn the melanoma ABCDEs that summarize early signs of melanoma.
  1. Asymmetry

  2. Borders (irregular, not smooth)

  3. Color (multiple, variegated)

  4. Diameter (greater than 6 mm (approx. 0.24 in.), about the size of a pencil eraser)

  5. Evolving or changing 

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