Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the United States. About five million people are treated for skin cancer each year, and it is one of the most common types of cancer in young adults and adolescents. In Wisconsin, the number of men and women being diagnosed with melanoma cancer has been increasing.
How do we protect ourselves and our children from developing skin cancer?
- A culture change that views sun tanned skin as damaged.
- Avoid sun exposure during peak times of the day 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Cover up – when you have to be in the sun use protective clothing and sunblock.
- Avoid tanning beds – tanning lamps/beds aren’t a safe alternative to the sun.
The American Cancer Society reports the following common myths about tanning:
Myth: A tan acts as the body’s natural protection against sunburn.
Truth: A tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays, showing that damage has been done. It does little to protect you from future UV exposure.
Myth: Tanning gives people a “healthy glow.”
Truth: Whether tanning or burning, you are exposing yourself to harmful UV rays that damage your skin. In fact, every time you tan, you increase your risk of melanoma.
Myth: Indoor tanning is safe because you can control your level of exposure to UV rays.
Truth: Indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, increasing your risk of melanoma – the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.