09
June
2016
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06:38 PM
America/Phoenix

Do these 6 things to reduce your skin cancer risk

June/July 2016 Newsletter

Do these 6 things to reduce your skin cancer risk

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Arizona averages 300 days of sunshine each year.1 The sun is a great source of vitamin D, but too much can lead to skin cancer (melanoma) – the most diagnosed cancer in the U.S.2 Common types of skin cancer are melanoma, the most dangerous type, basal cell cancer, and squamous cell cancer.

Protection from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is important every day, all year long. And that’s not just protection from direct sunlight. UV rays reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand and snow. Indoor tanning is a source of UV rays, too. They can even reach you on cloudy days.

Have fun this summer, but play it smart. Here’s some tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help protect your skin from cancer-causing UV rays.

6 Safety Tips to Avoid UV Rays3

  1. Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours (10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
  2. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  3. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
  4. Wear sunglasses that wrap around the eyes and block both types of UV rays: UVA and UVB.
  5. Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection. (Men, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, one of the most common spots of skin cancer for older men.)
  6. Avoid indoor tanning.

7 Factors that Can Increase Skin Cancer Risk4

  1. Gender – Men have a higher risk than women.
  2. Age – Skin cancer increases as a person gets older (but it’s also found in young people).
  3. Fair skin – People with fair skin, freckling or red or blond hair have a higher risk.
  4. Moles – Certain types of moles increase a person's chance of getting melanoma.
  5. Immune suppression – People taking medicines that lower the immune system have an increased chance of developing skin cancer.
  6. Family history – One in 10 people with skin cancer have a close relative with the disease (although, it might be because the family tends to spend more time in the sun together, or because family members have fair skin, or both).
  7. Personal history of skin cancer – People who have already had skin cancer have a higher risk of getting it again.

Stay alert. Personally, check your skin about once a month. Learn the pattern of moles, freckles and other marks on your body. If you have a mole or growth that worries you or that has changed in size, shape or color, talk to your doctor.

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1. The 10 Sunniest Places to Retire, US News and World Report; http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2011/11/21/the-10-sunniest-places-to-retire
2. Sunwise, Arizona Department of Health; http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/sunwise/index.php
3. What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Skin Cancer? CDC; http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm
4. Skin Cancer Facts, Arizona Oncology; http://arizonaoncology.com/skin/facts/
Summary

Have fun this summer, but play it smart. Here’s some tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help protect your skin from cancer-causing UV rays.

Disclaimer

© Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona | An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
 

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual’s particular health plan.