Sunbathers and beach goers might think May is way too early to be talking about skin cancer. Spring’s just started and there’s been hardly any time to even consider getting some sun. But the point of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month is to raise awareness about the risks of sun exposure before the summer gets into full swing. With the proper knowledge you can enjoy the warm months of June, July and August responsibly.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer of the skin is the most prevalent form of cancer in the US. In 2007, over 8,000 Americans passed away due to melanomas of the skin. Considering how preventable skin cancer is, these numbers are way too high.
Sun damage can be avoided in a number of ways. Always, always apply sunblock, even if it’s not hot or the sun doesn’t seem super-strong. Just because it doesn’t seem bad outside doesn’t mean the sun’s rays aren’t posing a threat. If you’re heading outdoors for an extended period of time, take some sunscreen with you and reapply throughout the day. Sweat, water and other factors can decrease the effectiveness of sunblock, so it’s important to keep some on-hand.
If you’re fair-skinned, you might even want to take along a long-sleeve shirt and a hat. These items will further protect you against harmful UV rays. A cap is especially great because it protects your scalp, your face, and sometimes even your neck and shoulders.
Again, it’s important to deliver this message to people before the summer kicks off. For example, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is offering free skin cancer screening in honor of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This is a great way to help people detect possible problems before they spend the entire summer in the sun. You can also consider distributing skin cancer awareness products at events or throughout outdoor areas in your community.
How will you help promote National Skin Cancer Awareness Month?