It is almost Spring! We will all joyfully pack away our winter coats and snow boots and unpack our short sleeve shirts and flip flops. We will plan ball games, gardens, yard projects, vacations, hiking, and other exciting outdoor activities. In many states, we even have Daylight Savings Time so that we can take advantage of every minute of daylight! Fresh air and sunshine are definitely on the list of “must-haves”, but whatever you plan to do for some fun in the sun, be sure to protect your skin.

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States?

  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.
  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.
  • More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
  • About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps.

These statistics are startling, but let’s adopt good habits to protect ourselves and the people that we love. Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention, and here are a few tips:

  • Use sunscreen. Experts recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. But, before you go out and buy the first sunscreen you see with the highest SPF, do you research. All sunscreens are not created equal!
  • Limit your time in the sun. Look for shade. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “run for cover”!
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses. What a great excuse to get those cool new sunglasses!
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds. Think of the money you can save each summer!
  • Examine your skin, head to toe every month. We should all love the skin we are in!

The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early.