The month of May is set aside nationally to raise awareness of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that more than two million people in the United States will be diagnosed with skin cancer.
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays has been identified as the leading factor that increases a person’s chance of getting the disease. UV rays, which are produced by the sun, are more intense in the summer, at higher altitudes and in areas closer to the equator. Overexposure UV radiation from the sun causes sunburn (erythema), skin cancer, premature aging (skin wrinkling), cataracts (gradual clouding of the lens of the eye), immune system suppression, DNA damage and dilated blood vessels.
The most important way for a person to lower his or her risk for skin cancer is to avoid exposure to UV radiation, either from the sun or other sources such as tanning lamps. Arizona Oncologyrecommends the following practices for sun safety:
- Protect skin with clothing, such as long sleeve shirts and hats with broad brim.
- Avoid being in outdoors when UV light is strongest, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Seek shade.
- Use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF factor of 15 or more on areas of the skin exposed to the sun. Products should be used on hazy or overcast days as well.
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV absorption to provide the best protection for the eyes and the skin around the eyes.
- Avoid other sources of UV lights, such as tanning beds and sun lamps.
- Protect children from the sun by using the same precautions as adults.
Arizona Oncology is committed to helping people win the battle against cancer by providing easy access to a full range of advanced cancer care services including diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, pharmaceuticals, clinical trials and support in a community-based setting that allows patients to remain close to home and their support networks of family and friends.