Protect yourself and your family this summer
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. It happens when damage to skin cells occurs, most often by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. While skin cancer is a very real threat, it’s the easiest cancer to treat, if found early. Many think dark-skinned people can’t get skin cancer, which is not true. Due to this misunderstanding, skin cancer is often found in people of color at a later stage than other ethnic groups.
How can you protect yourself and your family from the sun?
Below are some simple tips.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15 or higher every day. If you are going to be outside for a long time, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Cover up with clothing, a hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Seek the shade, mainly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe – yes, even the skin under your hair – every month. Look for:
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, or bleed.
- An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.
- A translucent skin growth or a mole, birth‑mark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that changes in color or texture, increases in size or thickness, is irregular in outline, bigger than a pencil eraser, or appears after age 21.
- Babies under six: Make sure that babies under six months old avoid sun exposure. Dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a hat that shades the neck, or keep baby under an umbrella. Please talk with your pediatrician for more information.
- Young children: Apply sunscreen (SPF of 15 or higher) at least 30 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy days.
Want to find out more?
Visit www.emblemhealth.com/skincancer or:
- The American Academy of Dermatology: aad.org
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov
- The Skin Cancer Foundation: skincancer.org