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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

You might not think about protecting your skin when you head out the door for work each day, but you should. With a few changes to your routine, you can easily make sun safety part of your healthy lifestyle every day.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. While attention is given to skin cancer during this month, sun safety is important all through the year, not just in the summertime. Most skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and the negative effects of UV radiation build up over a person’s lifetime. In fact, we can all be exposed to UV radiation while driving in our cars or sitting by a window in our offices. UV radiation is even present on cloudy days, when the sun is not visible.

We cannot completely avoid the sun, but we can be aware of its risks and protect our skin. Many skin cancers could be prevented by following these simple steps.

How to protect yourself

To reduce the harmful effects of sun exposure, you should protect your eyes and skin every day.

  • Try to avoid being directly exposed to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That's when UV rays are the most intense.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses that block UV rays.
  • Dress in long sleeves and long pants or skirts, if possible.
  • Protect all exposed skin by using a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection (against UVA and UVB radiation) that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Do not use tanning beds or sun lamps.
  • Wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.

"Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers in the United States. Most skin cancers are caused by unprotected exposure to excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation, primarily from the sun. Many skin cancers could be prevented by protecting your skin from the sun’s rays and avoiding indoor tanning. When we think of healthy lifestyle choices, we often overlook the importance of protecting our skin. By educating ourselves about the dangers of sun exposure and learning how to protect ourselves, we can improve our health and wellness and benefit," said Dr. Mamdouh Mijalli, McLeod General Surgery Dillon.

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
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