More than 2 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. It is the most common form of cancer in this country, but it is also one of the most preventable. With the heat of the summer months still upon us, Arizona Oncology reminds the community about the importance of protecting their skin from the sun and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
UV rays are invisible to the naked eye and are more intense in the summer, at higher altitudes, and in areas closer to the equator. Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes sunburn (erythema), skin cancer, premature aging (skin wrinkling), cataracts (gradual clouding of the lens of the eye), immune system suppression, DNA damage and dilated blood vessels.
The most important way for a person to lower his or her risk for skin cancer is to avoid exposure to UV radiation, either from the sun or other sources, such as tanning lamps.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following seven practices for sun safety:
1) Protect skin with clothing, such as long sleeve shirts and hats with broad brim.
2) Avoid being outdoors when the ultraviolet light is strongest, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
3) Seek shade
4) Use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF of 15 or more on areas of the skin exposed to the sun. Products should be used on hazy or overcast days as well.
5) Wear wrap-around sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV absorption to provide the best protection for the eyes and the skin around the eyes.
6) Avoid other sources of UV lights, such as tanning beds and sun lamps.
7) Protect children from the sun by using the same precautions as adults.
As a community-based cancer care provider with clinic locations throughout the state, Arizona Oncology helps cancer patients and their families access a full range of advanced cancer care services in an environment that allows patients to remain close to their homes and their support network of family and friends. Through its affiliation with The US Oncology Network, one of the nation's largest healthcare services networks dedicated exclusively to cancer treatment and research, Arizona Oncology can quickly bring the latest advances in therapies, research and technology to where patients live. As a result, patients access the best possible treatment with the least amount of disruption to their daily lives.
To learn more about skin cancer prevention and treatment, visit ArizonaOncology.com/Skin or call 855-234-HEAL (4325).
Pamela Miel, M.D., is a medical oncologist in Cottonwood and Prescott Valley with Arizona Oncology, along with Paul Kuefler, M.D., Deborah Lindquist, M.D., Peter Mathern, M.D., and Michael Vu, M.D., PharmD, servicing the towns of Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Sedona and Prescott Valley. Learn more at ArizonaOncology.com or call 855-234-HEAL (4325).