Skimping on sunscreen can ruin summer fun

Warm weather means it’s time to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors, but remember to protect your skin.

Skin cancer, caused by damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun, is the most common of all cancers in the U.S. Fortunately it’s also one of the most preventable forms of the disease.

“Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, but skin cancer’s incidence rates continue to rise,” says Dr. Rohit Sharma, assistant professor of surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center who specializes in melanoma and soft-tissue sarcoma.

More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, accounting for half of all cancers. And the incidence of melanoma – the second most common form of cancer for people 15 to 29 years old – continues to rise significantly, Dr. Sharma adds.

To be safe in the sun, Dr. Sharma suggests that people:

• Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and provides a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
•  Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling. Use a sunless self-tanning product instead.
• Wear protective clothing, including sunglasses and a hat that shades the face.
• Seek shade and remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/surgery to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in surgery. Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/cancercenter to learn more about clinical services for cancer at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto

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