Skin cancer is increasing in Siouxland and across the nation. It is important to protect yourself from sun exposure, the major risk factor for skin cancer. On average 60,000 persons will be diagnosed with melanoma and nearly 8,000 will die from the disease this year. Another one million cases of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma will be diagnosed. Melanoma is the most dangerous of these.
• An estimated 90% of all skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun or ultraviolet (UV) lights such as tanning booths. Weather a tan is achieved in a tanning booth or by a pool, the UV dose adds to the total lifetime accumulation of UV and to the risk of skin cancer.
• About 80% of the new skin cancer cases will be basal cell carcinoma, 16% are squamous cell carcinoma, and 4% are melanoma.
• Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma have a better than 95% cure rate if detected and treated early.
• Limit direct sun exposure during midday: 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
• Cover Up – wear protective clothing.
• Wear a hat or cap.
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Use generous amount and apply 30 minutes before going out, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming or perspiring.
• Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Cataracts are associated with UV exposure.
• Check your skin regularly.