Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Skin Cancer is the #1 Cancer in America

Did YOU Know....
* 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer.
* There are 1.3 million NEW CASES of skin cancer yearly.
* Melanoma- the most dangerous of all skin cancers, risk has doubled in the last 10 years.
* >90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure.
* Those who use tanning booths are at a 75% increase risk of developing Melanoma.
* Women <39 years old have a higher probability of developing Melanoma.

Summer is here and people will be spending their time outdoors when the sun's intensity is at it's highest: between 10am-4pm. The sun weakens the body's immune system thereby reducing your defense against infection. When at the beach, the sun is about 80% stronger when reflected off the sand. Overcast days are not any safer than clear days, as 70-80% of ultraviolet rays pierce through the clouds.

What are UVA and UVB rays?
They are ultraviolet light rays carried by the sunlight that reaches the earth. UVA and UVB rays affect the skin's sensitivity to sun exposure in different ways.
UVA: the aging rays.
* Penetrate deeply into skin layers damaging collagen and cells.
* Causes wrinkling, hyper-pigmentation and elasticity loss.
* 50 times more prevalent than UVB
* Present every day of the year.
* Pass through windows. Yes even your car windows!

UVB: the burning rays.
* Affect the outer layer of skin: epidermis.
* Causes hyper-pigmentation: freckling, dark spots, sunburn.
* Vary at time of day but stronger during Summer.

Protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. A few quick tips to be sun smart:
1. Daily use of a broad-spectrum suncreen. Protect against both UVA and UVB.
2. Apply before going outside. Doing so provides ample time for the sunscreen to be absorbed.
3. Use high SPF suncreen to block the burning rays.
4. Avoid over-exposure during peak time hours.
5. Wear protective clothing.

Tan skin does not give a "healthy glow". Conversly, suntanned skin is damaged skin. Over the years, skin is bombarded by sunlight. Skin cancer is caused by the cumulative effects of tan and burns. It is a precurser to skin cancer.

For more information visit the American Cancer Society's website.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti, RN,BSN