Skin cancer can be a treatable condition with early diagnosis and proper treatment. That’s why Sleepy Eye Medical Center (SEMC) is hosting a free Skin Cancer Screening Clinic on Saturday, June 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at SEMC.
According to the National Cancer Institute, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. There were over two million new cases diagnosed last year. The most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, makes up the lowest number of cases. Non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma account for the majority of cases.
According to Dr. Karlyn Armbruster, SEMC, “One of the most important things to remember is that the majority of skin cancers are actually preventable. We can dramatically reduce our risk for skin cancer simply by protecting ourselves from the sun.”
Most people understand that sunburns increase your risk for skin cancer, but unfortunately, many people also believe that tanning is healthy because it protects the body from sunburn.
“This myth relies on the idea that tanning is the body’s natural way of preventing UV rays from penetrating into the skin and thus reduces the risk of getting skin cancer,” said Dr. Armbruster. “This is not true. Damaging UV rays still penetrate through darker skin to cause damage over the lifetime. Although the UV rays that cause tanning are less likely to cause cancer, they still cause premature aging of the skin, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.”
Here are some tips to avoid skin damage from the sun:
- Know your skin: if you are fair skinned and burn easily, just avoid the sun.
- Stay inside or in the shade during the hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. This is the time when the sun’s rays are most intense. Remember that you can still be sunburned on a cloudy day.
- When you are in the sun, clothing is the best way to cover the skin. Wear a wide brimmed hat to cover the ears, face, and neck and sunglasses with UV protection.
- The next best alternative to clothing is a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB coverage), zinc oxide containing sun block with at least 30 SPF. This must be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied every two hours.
- The rays of the sun can be especially intense when reflected off of the water at the lake or ocean. Think of it as a double dose of sun.
- Do not use indoor tanning beds.
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