Here in Utah, we love our sun! Spring, summer, winter and fall…every season finds us outside enjoying the activities our state offers us – from skiing to golf, hiking to water skiing. We say bring on the sun!
But no matter how enjoyable it is to be outdoors, your skin is under constant bombardment from ole’ sol’s ultraviolet rays. And those damaging rays are aging your skin, causing wrinkles, age spots and sometimes melanoma – skin cancer.
Here are a few facts about skin cancer and its prevention:
The most common form of cancer is skin cancer. Over one million people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with skin cancer. Sadly, many more go undiagnosed.
Sunscreen does not prevent skin cancer. Sunscreen helps block the rays than lead to skin cancer. But sun damage is cumulative. So, every sunburn you had as a child contributes to your susceptibility to skin cancer later in life. Remember: To be effective, sunscreen must be worn not just packed in your beach bag!
If you notice the labels on sunscreens, some say they block UVB rays; others say they are broad based. Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays because both are damaging to your skin. UVA rays penetrate the epidermis affecting the dermis beneath which causes your skin to age and can lead to skin cancer. UVB rays burn the epidermis and also lead to skin cancer lesions.
People with many moles have a higher risk of melanoma. Have your moles checked yearly to see if they change size, shape or color.
Skin cancer is serious but most skin cancers, if found early, are treatable with surgery.