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Press Release Archive (2014)

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May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The good news?

Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early

Since its inception in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Read our full list of skin cancer prevention tips:

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • 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.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Of these cases, it is estimated that about 131,810 are melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which claims an estimated 9,180 lives annually. However, the five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98%.

Prevention is key to protecting yourself against developing melanoma. The best ways to guard yourself is to limit the time you spend in direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm, and using sunscreen consistently and correctly.

Using sunscreen with at least a SPF of 30 all year round (yes, even in the winter!) can help deter sun-damage which occurs from short exposure over time. During the summer months, use sunscreen liberally and reapply at least every 2 hours even if the SPF is marked as "water-proof".

Regardless of your skin tone, there is no such thing as a "safe tan". Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation contributing to cell damage - a risk factor for developing skin cancer. Indoor tanning is just as dangerous as tanning outside: it also causes skin damage and premature aging.

Visit your primary care physician if you start to notice changes in your skin such as mole abnormalities, which are a sign of melanoma.

Learn more about Melanoma from the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology.

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