Skin Cancer Awareness & Prevention Month

6 March, 2020

In case you didn’t know, May is Skin Cancer Awareness & Prevention month.

Skin cancer is one of those topics/diseases that almost everyone has a tie to. For yours truly, it is one that hits close to home. My father has battled with melanoma several times over the past decade and I know I will have to try my best to prevent in the coming years.

Skin cancer is one of the most easily preventable cancers and the Mayo Clinic’s Website offers five quick prevention steps:

  • Avoid the sun during the middle of the day.
  • Wear sunscreen year round.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Become familiar with your skin so you’ll notice changes. 

It sounds quite simple to do some of these things — like wear sunscreen and avoid the midday sun — but sometimes we forget and in the day & age where it becomes harder and harder to listen to the facts about drugs and their laundry list of side effects, it’s a reminder that if we don’t utilize simple sunscreens, a bigger challenge awaits us. Keeping your summertime routine as skin friendly as possible and following the steps listed above increases your chances of avoiding a trip to the doctor.

We’ve all heard that living in Colorado (at a higher altitude), we are at an increased risk of skin damage due because we are “closer” to the sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that it is indeed true; “Higher altitude means increased risk of sun-induced skin damage, since UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, UV radiation may be 35 to 45 percent more intense than at sea level.” A recent study by the CDC exhibits that the Rocky Mountain states — Wyoming, Montana and Idaho — and even in the rainy Pacific Northwest, people are more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer. These statistics should encourage many of us to be more aware of our daily routine as it relates to taking care of our skin – the largest organ on the human body.

With increased risk, increase awareness becomes key in driving an end to this terrible disease. RACares will be hosting a sunscreen giveaway at the end of this month to equip our members with a quick sunscreen stick to help you take care of your precious skin.