Preventing and reducing the risk of skin cancer this summer
An estimated 2,570 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are expected this year in New Jersey, according to new figures of The American Cancer Society. The good news is that skin cancer is treatable and preventable.
Dr. Arnold Baskies, former chairman of the National Board of Directors at The American Cancer Society said there is currently a tsunami of skin cancer cases in the U.S.
He said what many people do not know is that skin cancer is the most common cancer. About 20% of all Americans will develop a skin cancer by age 70 and more than two people die an hour from skin cancer.
There are two kinds of skin cancers: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous of the two.
Baskies said it's so important to do regular skin checks. Look for a mole that looks funny or has changed in size and color should get checked.
Always protect oneself from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays. He said taking some simple steps can prevent skin cancer in the future. Avoid being outside during the midday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is the strongest.
If you have to go outside during that time, wear appropriate clothing for protection and a hat with a wide brim.
Wear sunscreen with SPF of at least 30, which offers the best protection against UV rays.
Use sunscreens that read broad spectrum protection/UVA and UVB protection on the bottles.
There is also no such thing as waterproof sunscreen, despite what the bottle says, according to Baskies. Always reapply when coming out of the water.
Wear sunglasses that have UV-absorbing lenses and that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays.
Indoor tanning is never good and Baskies warned to avoid them. Many times people like to pre-tan at these indoor salons so as not to burn when they go out in the sun. But he said this is a misconception. Indoor tanning beds and sun lamps will not protect anyone from getting a sunburn.
Baskies also warned that indoor tanning beds emit a UV radiation in amounts that are 10 to 15 times more than the natural sun.
Having five or more sunburns doubles a person's risk of getting melanoma. If someone gets a sunburn, treat it like a burn using the proper creams and even aloe.
"But the best treatment for a sunburn is not get one," Baskies said.