Whether you have never thought about skin cancer or you’ve been recently diagnosed, you need to protect yourself every day from the sun’s rays.
UVA and UVB rays from the sun can cause melanoma, a scary form of skin cancer that is diagnosed in one in 50 Americans in their lifetimes. Melanoma symptoms start as growing, irregular moles and progress into painful sores.
It’s not just the sun we need to be concerned with. Indoor tanning is dangerous, too. In 2013, the World Health Organization labeled it a Class A carcinogen – the same class as arsenic and asbestos. Tanning indoors before age 35 increases your risk for melanoma by 75 percent. Horror stories have made national headlines, including one of a frequent indoor tanner who was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 21.
Skin protection is not just for trips to the ballpark or the swimming pool. It should be part of your daily routine. Start by storing your family’s sunscreen in convenient places:
- Next to your shaving cream or makeup
- In a desk drawer at work
- Near where your kids hang their backpacks
Keep sunscreen within easy reach so you remember to wear it. Be sure your family wears wide-brimmed hats and loose, long-sleeved shirts during the summer. I know it gets hot, especially here in Texas, but covering your skin is key to avoiding melanoma.
Changing your routine is not easy, but it is doable. We live in a beautiful state with beautiful weather pretty much all year round. But the sunshine comes with a risk as well. We have to make sure we protect our skin. You can live a fulfilling life; you just have to be careful.