Memorial Day weekend traditionally kicks off summer activities. Many will be having fun in the sun beginning this Memorial Day weekend. But remember, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.
Top 5 myths about skin cancer:
1) Only fair-skinned people get skin cancer.
False. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate. Although people with lighter skin are at increased risk, skin cancer can turn up on those with darker skin too, including African Americans, Native Americans, and people of Asian and Hispanic descent. African American and Hispanic people who develop melanoma (an aggressive type of skin cancer) are more likely to die from the disease than are Caucasian people with melanoma.
2) Tanning salons are a safe tanning alternative.
False. According the Centers for Disease Control, indoor tanning exposes users to two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting melanoma.
3) Skin cancer is not very common.
False. According the Surgeon General, skin cancer is more common than all other types of cancer. The number of Americans who have had skin cancer in the past three decades is estimated to be higher than the number for all other cancers combined.
4) I only need sunscreen in the summer time.
False. SPF refers to the ability of sunscreen to block UV rays. According to the American Melanoma Foundation, dermatologists strongly recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater year-round for all skin types. If you are fair-skinned and sunburn easily, you may want to select a sunscreen with a higher SPF to provide additional protection.
5) Genetic factors such as being fair-skinned or having a family history are the biggest contributing factors for skin cancer.
False. The most common types of skin cancer are also strongly associated with exposure to UV radiation. While leading healthy, active lives and enjoying the outdoors choose sun protection strategies that work such as wearing a hat or sunglasses and other protective clothing. Seek shade, especially during midday hours, and use broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15+ to protect any exposed skin.
Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center one of 21 community health centers in South Carolina. The CHCs and the statewide Migrant health Program provide affordable, community-based, and coordinated preventive and primary health care services while reducing inappropriate emergency room usage, overall health care costs, racial and ethnic health disparities and other barriers to care. To find a community health center near you, visit www.scphca.org or call (803) 788-2778.
To contact Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center call (866) 405-9438.