Are you taking care of your skin? Good skin care today will insure good looking and healthy skin tomorrow. Practice good skin care and play it safe in the sun. Skin cancer is a lot more serious than most people realize.
If you’re anything like me, when the weather’s warm, you have a hard time staying inside. The past few days, I’ve felt kind of like a cat – I loved the return of sunshine so much, I just wanted to lie down in the yard and sun myself. Two of our outside cats are doing just that right now. One of the younger ones keeps wanting to play with one of the older ones, but she’s only interested in sunning. She just shot him a look that let him know that he wasn’t to disturb her sunny slumber ever again.
Since he just rolled over to face the other way, I’d say he got the message.
Since Old Man Winter has finally packed up his bags and seems to finally be leaving, I thought a sun safety article was in order to remind us all to b careful with something we’ll have for the rest of our lives – our skin. I love winter more than most people. While 9 out of 10 people are dreading a snow storm, I’m hoping for as many inches as possible. But even I was growing tired winter this year – he really overstayed his welcome this time. Now it’s time for glorious spring followed by glorious summer! All I can think about is baseball, bird watching, feeding squirrels, grilling out, planting flowers, homemade lemonade, ice cream, and more baseball.
Let the fun in the sun begin – AFTER we remind ourselves of the importance of our skin and how vital it is that we take care of it.
Facts About Skin Cancer
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
- More than one million instances of skin cancers are diagnosed each year.
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers was more than $1 billion.
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- Up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun.
- The incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.
- More than 20 Americans die each day from skin cancer, primarily melanoma. One person dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes).
Realizing the Dangers of Skin Cancer
For some outrageous reason, I’ve noticed that the majority of people seem to think of skin cancer about the same way they think about psoriasis or eczema. “Eh, it’s just a skin condition that you put a little cream on… have it scraped off at the worst. I’ll take my chances for my golden tan.” Dumb. Then you’ll get the crowd that tells you how addictive the feeling is from baking in the sun or under the heat lamps.
Is the feeling worth dying for? One person dies of melanoma almost every hour…
Skin cancer isn’t a rash, for crying out loud. It’s cancer. C-A-N-C-E-R. And it’s one of the cancers that we can do the most to avoid. I guess that’s the good news and the bad news, all rolled into one, because can is never spelled W.I.L.L.
More Skin Cancer Facts from Skin Cancer.org
MEN / WOMEN
- The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 50.
- Five percent of all cancers in men are melanomas; Four percent of all cancers in women are melanomas.
- Contrary to popular belief, recent studies show that people receive a fairly consistent dose of ultraviolet radiation over their entire lifetime. Adults over age 40, especially men, have the highest annual exposure to UV.
- Between 1980 and 2004, the annual incidence of melanoma among young women increased by 50 percent, from 9.4 cases to 13.9 cases per 100,000 women.
- The number of women under age 40 diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma has more than doubled in the last 30 years; the squamous cell carcinoma rate for women has also increased significantly.
- Until age 39, women are almost twice as likely to develop melanoma as men. Starting at age 40, melanoma incidence in men exceeds incidence in women, and this trend becomes more pronounced with each decade.
- One in 39 men and one in 58 women will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
- Melanoma is one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men.
- Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a proven human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure.
- Seventy one percent of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29.
- First exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.
- People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.
- Melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers.
- Between 1973 and 2001, melanoma incidence in those under 20 rose 2.9 percent.
- Melanoma is seven times more common between the ages of 10 and 20 than it is between 0 and 10 years.
- Diagnoses – and treatment – are delayed in 40 percent of childhood melanoma cases.
- Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in girls aged 10-19.
To keep yourself and your family safe, make sure everyone understands that Skin Cancer is dangerous – even fatal. E-Mail them a link to this article – tell them you’ll buy them lunch if they’ll read it, word for word. Use my oldest cat’s name (Hannah) as a test question to make sure they did! I’m a mother, I know the secrets of staying on top of the game.
Sun Safety: Avoid Skin Cancer
- If you have things to do outside (walking, mowing, gardening), do them before 10 A.M. and after 4 P.M.
- During the hours from 10 to 4, stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Don’t burn!
- Avoid tanning booths. As the US Department of Health and Human Services states, UV radiation from either the sun or tanning machines is a proven human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) and considerable research shows it is the chief cause of skin cancer.
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, even if you’re certain you’ll be in the shade most of the time. Reapply often.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
A Healthy Diet to Prevent Skin Cancer
- Get this: People who eat three servings of spinach a week decrease their risk of skin cancer by 55 percent! Popeye was onto something. Spinach contains folate, vitamins A, C, and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin – these nutrients boost your skin’s resistance to sun damage. Eat spinach in salads, pasta salads, on sandwiches, in pesto, in pasta, in Spinach and Artichoke dips, etc.
- Thanks to Lycopene, tomatoes also reduce your chances of getting skin cancer or even getting sun-burned. Pair tomatoes often with spinach for double-the-protection. Throw both into salads, sandwiches, pasta, and use them as pizza toppings.
- Black raspberries and pomegranates are also on Real Age.com‘s list of foods to eat for healthier skin.
- Saving the yummiest for last – Dark Chocolate! Dark Chocolate (one of my reasons for living) has a great reputation for many health benefits. I was overjoyed to see that it just keeps getting better. Did you know that dark chocolate boasts more cancer-fighting chemicals than green tea and red wine? That makes each bite, somehow, taste even sweeter. According to Real Age: ….in a study that thrilled chocolate lovers, women who drank a daily cup of cocoa made from 3 ounces of good dark chocolate (70% or more cacao) had thicker, moister, smoother skin that was also more resistant to sun damage . . . in just three months, thanks to chocolate’s potent flavonols.
Of course, just because you know that you can help protect your skin with a healthy diet – that isn’t an invitation to be a sun goddess or god. Experts agree, we need between 10 and 20 minutes of sunshine each day. It helps our body make Vitamin D and it boost our mood. But between 10 and 20 minutes is all we actually need. An excess is just courting danger… the kind of danger that none of us need or want.
Have fun but be smart and be safe.