Call to Action: Preventing Skin Cancer
Today’s post is a little bittersweet for me. About a week ago, I was contacted to do this post and I agreed. Since then, a friend of our’s mom died from melanoma. So, this cause hit a little closer to home. Did you know there are more than 63,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year? Did you know that melanoma is the deadliest form of preventable skin cancer?
Recently, the Surgeon General has issued a Call to Action to address five goals:
- Increase sun protection in outdoor settings
- Provide information to the public about UV rays so they can make informed decisions
- Promote policies that help prevent skin cancer
- Reduce the harmful effects of indoor tanning
- Strengthen research, surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation for skin cancer
More than 1/3 of U.S. adults have been sunburned in the past year alone.
- Melanoma is one of the most common types of cancers among adolescents and young adults
- More than 400,00 diagnosis of skin cancer – 6,000 of melanoma – EACH YEAR are related to indoor tanning
- UV radiation is the cause of most skin cancers and is preventable
- Most cancer rates are decreasing, but skin cancer rates are increasing
- The number of Americans who have been diagnosed with skin cancer in the past three decades is estimated to be higher than the number for ALL OTHER CANCERS combined
- Skin cancer treatment costs $8.1 billion each year in the United States alone
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and other protective clothing when in the sun
- Seek shade during midday hours
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF15 to protect exposed skin
- Stop indoor tanning or outdoor sunbathing
- Check out these risk factors
Unfortunately, I have several of the risk factors associated with skin cancer – fair skin, green eyes, family history, large number of moles, sunburns early in life, and easily freckled skin. There were times, after being ridiculed (even as an adult), of my “white” skin I would attempt to tan outdoors or run around with no sunscreen on. No more. The damage has already been done. I have a scar on my back to prove it where I had a large, suspicious mole removed. Never again.
The burning truth? Tanned skin is not healthy skin. I’ll take my pasty, white legs and freckles over skin cancer any day.
To read more about the Surgeon General’s Call to Action, click here.
For some quick facts about skin cancer, click here.
In-depth information from the CDC can be found here.
To learn more about the sunscreen gridlock, click here.
This post was written for social good. All information and graphics used with permission. No compensation was received in exchange for this post.
I have many of the risk factors, too: fair skin, blue eyes, freckles, a vast family history and more blistering burns in my teen years than I care to remember (Irish girls should not be born in Florida!). Because of all that, I have not left my house without sunscreen in over 25 years. The bonus? I have way fewer wrinkles than lots of women my age!
I’m so happy you wrote this post. It’s not just melanoma that kills. I lost my mother quite quickly this past Thanksgiving to squamous cell skin cancer. I heard the words “hmmm, that’s not supposed to behave like that” so many times throughout her treatment. I have just grown to be quite cautious – even when doctors tell me it’s okay. Our entire family is quite fair & we will continue to stay out of the sun & buy sunblock in bulk. It’s far too preventable to watch someone pass from something that was preventable.