Protect Against Skin Cancer

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 14, 2013

Protect Against Skin Cancer

With summer here, it’s important to remember that skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. It affects more than 1 million people each year, many of whom are older men and women.

One of the biggest known risk factors for getting skin cancer is excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light increases the risk of all three kinds of skin cancer: melanoma (the least common but most severe), basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

The older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with skin cancer, particularly after age 50. However, increased sun exposure and sun damage at an early age is a major contributor to skin cancer later in life.

One of the best ways to protect against skin cancer is to simply limit exposure to harmful UV light. Avoid the sun during midday, when its rays are the strongest, wear appropriate clothing—such as hats or long-sleeved shirts—and wear plenty of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

UV light can be just as damaging on a cloudy, overcast day as on a bright and sunny day, so use sunscreen and other protective measures daily, however the sky looks.

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