Safe Sun Practices
The American Cancer Society has designated July as UV Safety Month. Here in Santa Clarita, the summer months provide us plenty of warm (let’s face it, HOT) temperatures. Not only are we trying to keep cool, we are trying to protect our skin from the searing summer sun. Slathering on sunscreen is an important practice, but we can’t rely on sunscreen alone.
Another important sun-safety strategy is to utilize clothing for sun protection. Sun-protective clothing has become light-weight, comfortable, and stylish. The nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) reports that over the past two decades, clothing claiming an ultraviolet protection factor has enjoyed a soaring growth spurt. To be effective, clothing should provide an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or more. UPF 50+ is the highest protection rating that clothing can have. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sun-protective clothing is one of the best ways to guard against skin damage.
Along with using sunscreen, covering up with clothing and hats and staying in shade, it’s important to examine our skin each month for growths, moles or spots. Since skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, getting screened once a year by a dermatologist is an effective early detection strategy.
In addition to skin cancer screenings, the American Cancer Society cancer recommends that a variety of cancer screenings become a regular part of life, like going to the dentist or changing the oil in your car. According to ACS, it’s important to get regular screenings even if you feel fine or are not experiencing symptoms. Cancer screening exams can identify changes in the body before symptoms are felt and help to detect cancer early. Some available screenings include cervical, breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer. Talk to a doctor to determine which screening schedule is right for you. Even if you are uninsured or underinsured, there are resources to help you get screened at cancer.org/getscreened.
For information about UV Safety and other support services that the American Cancer Society provides, visit the ACS website at www.cancer.org or call toll-free 800-227-2345.
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