Summer in the Sandhills has arrived and, with the warmer weather, comes outdoor activities – and the occasional sunburn.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than two million people are diagnosed annually.
Skin Cancer Facts
- In 2015, about 73,870 new melanomas were diagnosed (about 42,670 in men and 31,200 in women).
- The risk of melanoma increases with age. The average age at the time it is found is 62, but melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
- Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer, either basal cell or squamous cell, at least once.
- Who survives skin cancer? The five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the skin, is about 97 percent. The five-year survival rate falls to 15 to 20 percent for those with advanced disease.
Although melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer, non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer) are by far the most common of ALL cancer types! Although non-melanoma skin cancers are usually not dangerous, treatment for these cancers can often result in disfiguring scars. Skin cancers are most common in people with light skin who sunburn easily. Protecting yourself from too much sun, and particularly from sunburn, can greatly reduce the chances of getting these common cancers.
You know that being outdoors in the summer is inevitable, just don’t forget to take care of your skin while you are out having fun.
Summer Skin Tips
- Avoid direct sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Always apply sunscreen – a SPF of 30 or higher is recommended, and be sure to apply at least 30 minutes before exposure.
- Stay away from indoor tanning machines.
- Wear protective clothing including a hat or sunglasses.
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
And don’t forget to check your skin regularly! See our article about what to look for to detect melanoma skin cancers.
FirstHealth Cancer Services is a leading-edge provider of North Carolina cancer care, providing high-quality, compassionate cancer care that’s close to home. From diagnosis to the conclusion of treatment, our multidisciplinary professional team navigates a course of action and supports your choices regarding fighting your illness. The FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital cancer program is accredited with commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.
Source: The American Cancer Society, Skin Cancer Facts