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Q: How can I protect myself against skin cancer?

Posted June 12, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: June brings awareness to the disease of skin cancer in the form of “Sun Month.” One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Those affected include young women, older men and anyone in between. The amazing fact about skin cancer is that it if preventable.

“About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun,” says Perry Robins, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Everyone, regardless of skin color, should make staying safe in the sun a priority and incorporate sun protection measures into their daily life.”

Reduce your skin cancer risk by doing the following:
• Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.

• Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.

• Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses when plans include being in the sun for an extended period of time.

• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day and apply to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.

• Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

• Examine your skin head-to-toe every month and be sure to see your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

You are the largest factor in your health and the prevention of skin cancer. Use these tips and enjoy some fun in the sun without over exposure.

Information provided by Tami Dickeson, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, Norwalk, 515-981-0604.

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