Here’s some Sun Facts:

Coming up…. May 7th kicks off this year’s Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Designated by the American Academy of Dermatology, National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month and Melanoma Monday were established to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer. Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer when detected early.

It is very important that everyone, especially children and young adults, use skin protection whenever they are exposed to the sun. Research has shown that multiple blistering during teenage years can cause cancer later in life. High risk individuals like those with light skin pigment or those that burn easily should be diligent when it comes to practicing sun safety.

The deadliest form of skin cancer is melanoma. Technically there is no cure for melanoma so early detection is crucial. Surgical removal of the melanoma and surrounding tissue is the standard initial treatment. Early-stage melanoma that is completely removed by this surgical process has a high rate of success with 98% of patients surviving beyond five years. However, if not detected early, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Advanced melanoma is treated with immunotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy. This cancer is not very responsive to current treatments, so once the cancer has spread, the patient’s life expectancy diminishes rapidly.

Here are some things you can do to raise awareness about skin cancer:

  •  Encourage your family and friends to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, avoid UV tanning beds, and direct sun exposure between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  •  Talk with teachers in your area about instructing their students on the damages of UV radiation
  •  Partner with your referral groups to sponsor a skin cancer screening event.
  •  Include information about skin cancer awareness in your Social Media posts and your May newsletter

Educate on UV safety this July

Summer is officially here, bringing with it plenty of sunshine and opportunity for outdoor fun. It also offers a great opportunity to educate about sun safety.

July is UV Safety Month, an observance supported every July by the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy for Ophthalmology. Make plans to remind your community about the importance of protecting skin and eyes by applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats while spending time outdoors.

By raising awareness of the risks of sun damage and how they can be minimized, you’ll also be calling attention to your agency and its place as a health leader in your community. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • This is a slow time of year for most media outlets, so give them something to report on. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, accounting for nearly half of all cases in the United States? Partner with local dermatologists and organize a SPOT skin cancer screening event. A complete planning guide is available from the American Academy of Dermatology. Be sure to spread the word to local media well before the event. Offering to connect them with a skin cancer survivor before the event can help you get two stories out of the event — one before and one after. Don’t forget to make sure they know about your agency’s efforts to promote skin cancer awareness and help those who have the disease.
  • Use social media to spread the word about sun safety and healthy skin. Fill your Twitter and Facebook feeds with helpful messages on this topic all month long. Link to healthy skin resources.
  • Drop by all your local senior community groups this month with sunscreen or lip balm featuring your agency’s contact information. Hand these out along with copies of your marketing brochures. Give them to your referral sources, too. Call us at 866-232-6477 to learn more about available options.
  • Find lots of free skin cancer and sun safety materials from the American Academy of Dermatology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Download, print and spread the word.
  • Hydration is especially important during the summer. It not only will keep people healthy and feeling better, but will help keep skin from getting dry and scaly. Older people’s thinner skin and increased likelihood of certain health conditions leaves them more susceptible to this dryness. Print and distribute to your community dehydration flyers that also outline ways home care can help. 
  • Download the “What’s Your UV IQ?” quiz made available by the US Department of Health and Human Services Department's Federal Occupational Health division. Print and staple it to copies of your marketing brochures. Leave these in area physician waiting rooms.