This month all Moose River Media
publications will bear a special reminder that May is skin cancer awareness month.
As professionals who spend the majority of their workday outdoors, you are highly susceptible to the harmful effects of the sun and must be vigilant about protecting your skin.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention estimates that there are over 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year - making it the most common form of cancer in the country. Of these cases, 76,520 will be malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Fortunately, all forms of skin cancer, even melanoma, can be cured when detected early. (Melanoma, when detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes, has a 99 percent 5-year survival rate.) A once-a-month self-examination is a great tool to monitor your skin and stay on top of any suspicious changes. Visit the Skin Cancer Foundation's website www.skincancer.org
for step-by-step instructions on performing a thorough self-exam.
While you can't avoid the sun completely, there are a number of simple steps you can take to protect against dangerous UV rays. To help prevent skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation offers the following suggestions:
Fast Facts: Skin Cancer
- Long-sleeved, closely woven shirts and long trousers provide the best protection.
- Avoid clothes that you can see light through. If light is getting through, ultraviolet radiation is getting through as well.
- A collar will protect the skin on the back of the neck.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses. Broad-brimmed hats are best. The brim should be at least 3 inches wide.
- If a lot of bending is required, have a flap on the back of the hat, which will keep the sun off the back of the neck. Hardhats can have a flap or extra brim fitted to them.
- Use sunglasses or safety glasses that filter out UV rays.
- Use an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen before going outdoors. Use a water-resistant sunscreen, and reapply every two hours. If sweating freely, reapply more often.
- Make sure the face, lips, neck, ears, arms and back of the hands are protected.
Information from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
- About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- One in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.
- The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 50.
- Melanoma is one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men, along with liver cancer and esophageal cancer.
- The survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the skin, is about 99 percent. The survival rate falls to 15 percent for those with advanced disease.
- Approximately 5,700 deaths from melanoma occur in men each year in the US, and 3,000 in women.