As the weather warms up, we are spending more and more time outdoors, but how many of us remember to put sun screen on before working in the yard or garden? Pocahontas Memorial Hospital wants to remind people of the importance of protecting themselves from skin cancer – a disease that affects people from every walk of life including young women, older men, and everyone in between. Skin cancer is on the rise in our country and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer.
The Radiology Department is providing free Derma Facial Views at Health Fairs around the county this month. With a quick, painless scan, one of our qualified staff can point out trouble spots and provide tips on where you might need to be extra protective of your skin. A full schedule of Health Fairs is printed in a separate ad in this week’s Times or you may visit us online at www.pmhwv.org.
Skin cancer is one of the most preventable and curable diseases. Here’s how we can all protect our skin:
- Stay in the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Do not burn. Your risk for developing melanoma doubles if you have been burnt five or more times over your life.
- Avoid tanning and tanning booths. Just making four trips to a tanning bed in one year can increase your risk for melanoma by 11%. There is no safe way to tan. Tanned skin from a tanning booth or the sun is damaged skin.
- Cover up with clothing. Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses!
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen. Don’t just wear sunscreen when you go the lake or the beach – wear it every day. You can get sun damage by just driving to work every day with the sun coming through the window. The rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons of sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors. You should reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming.
- See your healthcare provider every year for a professional skin exam.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe once a month.