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Skin Cancer Stats

Every year, over 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States, making it the most common type of cancer in our country.1 Many people are unaware, though, that it is also the most preventable. Because it can be difficult to escape the sun’s rays, it’s our hope at Willow Massage + Spa to inform you of the risks, encourage you to take precautions, and raise awareness so that together we can reduce this common and deadly form of cancer across the United States.

Studies show that about 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. In fact, melanoma is responsible for about 75% of all skin cancer deaths and is associated with the over exposure of your skin to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It’s the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults (15-29 years old) and roughly one American dies of melanoma almost every hour.2

Instead of succumbing to these scary statistics, there are things you can do to reduce your likelihood of getting skin cancer. First and foremost, you need to take precautions … especially in the hot Arizona sun! Here are a few more things you can do now to reduce your risk: 

Avoid Sunburns

Sunburns are extremely damaging to your health. Not only are they painful and a sure-fire way to ruin your week, they increase your risk of developing skin cancer both now and later in life. Overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor, so try to limit your time under harsh rays. 

Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds

While everyone loves the way they look with a good tan, you should never put yourself at risk for cosmetic reasons. UV light from tanning beds and the sun is a huge determining factor in developing skin cancer. Not to mention both tanning beds and overexposure to the sun cause premature skin aging such as wrinkles, brown spots, and more. 

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is your best friend in the area of prevention. By generously applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, you can reduce your chances of melanoma and premature aging. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects you against both UVA and UVB radiation when you apply it before sun exposure and continually throughout the day. It’s recommended that you reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming or sweating. However, just because you lather on the sunscreen doesn’t mean you should spend the whole day directly in the sun. 

Cover Up

One of the absolute best ways to prevent sunscreen is to cover up. Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection, and swimming shirts whenever possible. Doing so is a great way to reduce your UV exposure and prevent skin cancer. 

Seek Shade

If you’re planning an afternoon at the pool or participating in an activity where you’ll be outside for most of the day, seek shade. Shade offers protection from the harsh UV rays and will keep you feeling refreshed and healthy. The sun’s UV rays are the most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so aim to have a shady haven to escape to during those times.

Keep an Eye on the UV Index

Similarly, if you’re planning outdoor activities with your family or friends, keep an eye on the UV index. You can find this information online or on a number of weather apps and use it to prevent overexposure to the sun. If the UV index is going to be 9 on Saturday, but 4 on Sunday, try to reschedule your plans accordingly. When it comes to the sun, it’s always better to take a few extra precautions here and there.

While we hope that you’ll take these precautions into consideration, we want to clarify that they are not meant as medical advice. If you have any serious questions or concerns about skin cancer and how to prevent it, talk to your doctor today. For more tips on avoiding skin cancer and the risks of melanoma, visit the cancer.org website here.

Sources:

1https://www.skincancer.org/get-involved/skin-cancer-awareness-month

2 https://melanoma.org/sites/default/files/2017MelanomaFactSheet.pdf

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