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Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know

Posted by Dan Narsete on

“What does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

The grass is getting green, the leaves are growing, and the flowers are blooming. Days are getting much longer, warmer, and it is great to be finally be outside again! While we all LOVE to spend time out in the sun, we also know it’s important to keep in mind certain things in order to protect our skin from harmful UV rays.

The numbers and statistics for skin cancer are something you need to be aware of. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • One in five people will get skin cancer within their lifetime
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined
  • The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated at $8.1 billion: about $4.8 billion for non-melanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma.
  • Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.
  • Between 40-50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis is defined scaly, rough patch on the skin which is usually caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays. Actinic keratosis is a form of pre-cancer; it affects more than 50 million Americans. If you or someone you know might have a symptom of this get checked out by a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Tanning Beds

I know you are already rolling your eyes. You’re going on a trip or you haven’t been in the sun for months. I get it. Did you know that the World Health Organization lists tanning beds the same level as plutonium cigarettes as cancer causing agents?! That’s crazy! But it’s true. Lesson here; go get a spray tan if you’ve been hiding out in the basement for months.

The Good News

Skin cancer is preventable. Here are the top 5 ways to reduce your chances of getting skin cancer:

  1. Stay out of the sun between 10AM-2PM. This is when the sun is highest in the sky and has the most amount of UV rays.
  2. Try to stay in the shade. Simple but effective.
  3. Cover up with clothing and a wide hat. It might not be the most fashionable thing, but it beats getting cancer.
  4. Get checked once a year by a board-certified dermatologist. Early detection is the key to dealing with skin cancer.
  5. Reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours and wear a minimum sunscreen of SPF 15.

Moving Forward

Gone are the days where it’s fashionable to bake in the sun for hours. Even though these statistics are a little on the scary side, knowing about it really is half the battle and it’s good to know we can do something about it. If you need a good place to start for sunscreen click here and get some medical grade sunblock. Keep these tips in mind when you are out having fun in the sun this summer!

To beating cancer,

Team Reflect

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