Skin Cancer Facts

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deathbedI live in an urban Seattle neighborhood, you’re thinking “what’s a girl like me doing talking about Skin Cancer Facts with all this rain?” Well, trust me when we get sun around here we double down and go crazy, sporting tank tops and shorts in balmy 60 degree weather. And we’re closer to the poles where the ozone is thinner so when we get sun we really get it.  But I digress.

Let’s get  Back to my neighborhood. On the main “avenue” where I live is a long row of fabulous shops and restaurants.  On the north corner of one the blocks is a sun tanning studio which offers air conditioned tanning beds, facial tanners and special shoulder tanners.  On the south end of the same block is a medispa specializing in anti-aging therapies to reverse sun damage.  The clientele opening and closing the doors of each establishment couldn’t be more different.  It’s the alpha and the omega all in one short block.

I’ve often thought it would be cleaver (and probably a big fat downer to some of these tanning bed lovers, to post some “Sun Cancer Facts” on the door of the tanning salon.  How do their patrons not know they are increasing their risk of skin cancer with each visit?  But until some tech wizard figures out how show a 25-year-old a photo of their face after 10 or 20 years of fake and baking, tanning salon will remain in business – even if the sun cancer facts are printing on the inside of the tanning goggles.

Most of us know to stay away from tanning salons and to wear sunscreen everyday, but it’s good to review some basic Sun Cancer Facts to reinvigorate our sunscreen resolve.  Below are some Sun Cancer facts taken from The Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime
  • More than 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun
  • The number of women under age 40 diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma has more than doubled in the last 30 years; the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma among women under age 40 has increased almost 700 percent
  • Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
  • People who tan indoors just four times per year increase their risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma by 15 percent.

Prevention tips include:

  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Examine your skin each month from head to toe.