As we get into the spring and summer months and more of us are spending long hours in the sun, it is a good time to remind everyone about the dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer.
Did you know that more skin cancers are diagnosed in the US each year than all other cancers combined?
That’s a great reason take action!
Since skin cancer, also known as melanoma, has a 98% survival rate when caught early, we all need to remember these important tips.
Nonmelanoma skin cancers are dangerous too and develop after years of unprotected sun exposure. The two most common types of nonmelanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.
It is also important to know that UV exposure can raise skin cancer risk even without causing sunburn.
Medications that your senior loved one takes may increase photosensitivity, causing more severe reaction to the sun’s rays.
Be aware of the effect of your senior’s medications, ask your pharmacist if you need more information about their drugs including those they take over the counter, and take precautions to protect them.
Tips to Remembers When Out in the Sun
- Avoid being out in the sun during peak sun exposure times between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm or stay in the shade.
- Remember that sun protection is needed whether it is cloudy or sunny since clouds do not block harmful UV rays.
- Use sunscreen with adequate SPF, a minimum of SPF 15 that protects both UVA and UVB rays of light. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.
- Re-apply your sunscreen after two hours, after swimming or any activity that causes you to sweat.
- Be aware that sunscreen expires, so check the date for freshness.
- Protect your lips with a lip balm containing SPF.
- Wear sunglasses when out in the sun even when driving.
- Wear clothing that covers and protects skin from harmful rays including a wide brimmed hat. There are new UV protective clothing that will help those seniors at increased risk.
- Check your skin regularly for any changes such as bleeding, freckles or moles changing or any other area of concern. Ask a family member to help you do a skin check.
- Visit a dermatologist for a check-up if any areas are noticed or to get a baseline body check.
Have fun in the sun but don’t forget to protect yourself and your senior!