MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The sun is out and so is school, which means people of every age are getting out into the sun and enjoying the summer. However, any amount of time in the sun can lead to skin cancer. So, how can you lower the risk of skin cancer while enjoying the outdoors?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Skin Cancer Foundation, these tips can help prevent large amounts of ultraviolet (UV) rays from impacting your skin:
-Try to find shade between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is when UV rays are the strongest.
-Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Remember that sunscreen expires between 2 to 3 years.
-Wear broad-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.
-Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, then reapply every two hours or after sweating or swimming.
-Avoid indoor tanning at all costs.
-After spending long amounts of time in the sun, make sure to examine your skin to see if anything looks irregular.
Skin cancer is not something that will just pop up from one day in the sun, said Ingham County Health Department's Health Officer Linda S. Vail.
"A lot of times it's looking for a dark spot on your skin and looking for the change or patterns that are more typical of skin cancer," Vail said. "If somebody is concerned that they have skin cancer, then go to see your provider."
Skin cancer is the most common cancer and more than 5 million cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization recommends following these tips year-round, because even if the sun is not shining, the UV rays can still damage your skin.
Vail said that individuals should be aware of a family history of skin cancer and make sure to check for abnormalities with dark spots on your body.
"If you have [dark spots], watch them," Vail said. "If you have family history, be aware of it and protect yourself from the sun."
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