Skin Cancer Awareness

It is hard to believe summer is almost over. September is here and fall is right around the corner. Soon the leaves will be changing and cool crisp air will greet us in the morning. We must not let down our guards when it comes to protecting our skin from the sun. Did you know that an article in JAMA Internal Medicine found that skin cancer is more common than prostate, lung and colon cancer combined?

According to the American Cancer Society, it is likely that there will be over 1,900 new cases of skin cancer in South Carolina this year. You may think you have never known anyone with skin cancer and you may very well be right. However, that does not mean you are less likely to get skin cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in Florence county there will be 48 new cases in 2020.

Risk factors you cannot change include light colored eyes, blonde or red hair, skin that burns or freckles easily or a light skin tone. Also, a family member with skin cancer or being older puts you at higher risk. The good news is that the number one risk factor is under your control: sun exposure. It is true the heat from the sun will be much less in the fall. However, the sun’s rays will continue to shine and damage our skin. Thankfully, the sun’s rays can be blocked with the use of sunblock, hats or clothing.

According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, one risk factor for skin cancer that you can change is your use of indoor tanning. Tanning exposes you to a high dose of UV rays. The tan you get from a tanning bed is actually skin damage. JAMA Internal Medicine found that tanning beds are the cause of over 10,000 new cases every year. The good news is that spray on tans and home tanning lotions have come a long way. You can now get the same sun-kissed tan without the bad sun rays and cancer risk. Enjoy the coming fall weather, but please don’t forget your sunblock or hat the next time you go outside.