Protect your skin

SunscreenAs the days grow longer and warmer, kids will begin to spend more time outdoors — at the ball fields, chasing butterflies, making sandcastles, and hanging out by the pool.

Yet, too much sun exposure without proper protection can bring an end to any fun in the sun.

Despite the fact that sun tanning and burning increases skin cancer risks, most Americans don’t protect themselves or their kids from the sun’s damaging rays. As a result, skin cancer is the most common cancer, and the incidence of melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – is on the rise.

However, if detected early, skin cancer usually can be cured.

Skin Cancer Symptoms

Be alert to any kind of change in a mole.  The four most common and most significant signs of change are a mole or skin area that:

  • Changes in size
  • Changes in color—typically gets darker
  • Itches
  • Bleeds

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Common skin cancer risk factors include:

  • Fair complexion and light hair
  • A lot of moles
  • Blistering sunburns

Many people who get melanoma will have had blistering sunburns in their teenage years, which is why it is important to protect your kids and teens.  Sun exposure is the strongest risk factor and the one you can prevent by avoiding over-exposure to the sun.

Other ways to help prevent skin cancer include:

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and wear protective clothing. Re-apply sunscreen periodically.
  • Avoid the sun during peak hours  (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Avoid tanning beds

“The ultraviolet radiation exposure of a tanning bed may be more risky than exposure to the sun,” said Dr. Kelly McMasters, ULP surgical oncologist and renowned melanoma expert. “Like the sun, they expose you to ultraviolet radiation. You keep adding more and more damage to your skin – just more quickly.”

If left untreated, skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body. That is why routine screenings are so important. If you or your child has any skin cancer signs or symptoms, see a dermatologist or your family doctor immediately. If you need help finding a physician, please visit uoflphysicians.com.

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About Radhika Bombard

Born in California and raised in South Carolina, Radhika Talwani Bombard (Radi) is a writer with nearly two decades of experience as a marketing/public relations professional. She has developed and executed marketing plans by identifying key strategies, goals, messages and selling points and implementing effective tactics to reach target audiences for various companies including University of Louisville's Department of Surgery, UofL Physicians Group – Surgery (formerly University Surgical Associates), UNC Health Care, UNC Children’s Hospital, UNC Physicians Group, UofL Healthcare, Norton Healthcare, Palmetto Health Alliance, Duke University Medical Center, The National Hearing Test, Shell Oil Company, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite Network, Sears Carpet & Upholstery, and Edwards Motorsports, as well as numerous physician practices. Throughout the course of her career, Radi has created marketing and communications materials such as Web sites, TV, print and radio advertisements, blogs, brochures, direct mail, capabilities pieces, speeches, internal merchandising, TV and radio scripts, position and white papers, fundraising appeals, and news releases. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks) and a master's degree in public relations from the University of Florida (Go Gators). An energetic leader who has managed multiple, high-profile projects and campaigns simultaneously and strategically, Radi finds her most challenging and rewarding role is as a mother to three active boys. When she is not working or logging miles with the kids in her minivan, Radi enjoys reading, hiking, yoga and watching college sports.

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