Summer is here (runs screaming toward the pool)!!!! It’s my favorite time of year! No school, no schedule, vacation, cookouts, and time at the pool. The summer months are a great time to be outside and soak up some rays, but it’s extremely important to protect yourself and your family while getting your daily does of Vitamin D.
Skin cancer is no joke and affects one in five Americans. Yes, I said one in five. While you may hear more about prevention of other cancers, the statistics about skin cancer are honestly staggering and more people need to be informed. Statistical information from www.skincancer.org
- In the U. S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. More than two people die of the disease every hour
- More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U. S. than all other cancers combined
- More than 5.4 Million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U. S. in 2012
- Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer and it affects more than 58 million Americans
- It is estimated that the number of new melanoma cases diagnosed in 2019 will increase by 7.7%
- Between 2009 and 2019, the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually increased by 54%
Mind blowing. Let me give you some backstory on why it is so important for me to spread the word. In 2013, I was on vacation (yes, at Disney) and was talking with my mom on the phone. She told me that my dad wasn’t feeling well and had scheduled a doctor’s appointment. He had a growth in his armpit area that had been getting bigger, but his primary care wrote it off to a sweat gland. If you knew my dad, you would know that he is not the sick type. I don’t remember a time growing up that he was ever sick, so I knew it had to be something if he was willing to go to the doctor.
The diagnosis was shocking. Cancer. The big C. Initially they thought it was some type of lymphoma, but after some additional testing, they scheduled surgery. After surgery, they were able to determine it was Stage 4 Melanoma. Stage 4. There are no words to describe the fear that ran through my family. You hear Stage 4 of any cancer and you know it means. We were determined to fight and beat it, and I’m happy to say that after some unconventional treatment methods (no chemo or radiation done), my dad has been cancer free for six years and will turn 80 later this year! *If you want more information on the methods he used, feel free to reach out to me*
You can’t be too careful when it comes to your skin. Here are some great prevention guidelines to protect yourself!
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM
- Don’t get sunburned
- Avoid tanning, and never use UV tanning beds
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month
- See a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam
Next time you are heading to the pool, beach, send your kids outside to play, or just to sit on the porch, make sure to defend your skin and put on some sunscreen!