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Protect your skin from the sun
Health advice
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It hasn't felt like it the last couple days, but summer is near.
I've recently seen several people with severe sunburns from laying on the beach.  But then I also saw plenty of halter tops and shorts during December.
It's obviously time to pull out sun screen and look for snazzy hats.  Some folks are concerned on how fast they can get a tan. Hopefully they are also checking out the best and safest product to use to accomplish this.  For many of us, the decision to get a tan and how we go about this is based on the value we pplace on that golden glow -- and if is it worth the increased possibility of skin cancer.
More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
Anyone can get skin cancer. Although most cases occur in people over age 50 with fair skin, cancer can also develop in younger people and those with dark skin. In general, an individual's lifetime exposure to UV light determines the risk.  An adult's risk of skin cancer has usually been decided during their childhood (when most people get the majority of their exposure). Individuals at greater risk for skin cancer include people who:
• Have light skin that freckles easily and tends to burn rather than tan. Individuals with blond or red hair and blue or light gray eyes often have fair skin.
• Live in geographic regions closer to the equator, where sunlight is strongest. Residents of Florida and South Georgia, for instance, have a greater risk than those in North Dakota.
• Work or spend a lot of time outdoors.
• Already have had skin cancer. A diagnosis means an individual has a higher-than-normal risk for the disease. These individuals must take care to minimize UV exposure and follow other preventive measures.
Nearly half of all new cancers are skin cancers. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma have a better than 95 percent cure rate if treated early.  Early detection and treatment is especially important when dealing with melanoma because it can metastasize to other parts of the body. More than 77 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.
Dermatologists warn that the sun is most dangerous between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and that cancer risks may vary with the kind of sun exposure:
• Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are more commonly seen in people who spend a lot of time in the sun over many years.
• Malignant melanoma is more frequent in people who get occasional, high-intensity sun exposure.
• Studies show a single sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer 50 percent.
It is strongly recommended that everyone check their skin regularly for abnormal growths or unusual changes. This helps you detect and treat skin cancer as early as possible. Ideally, the room should have a full-length mirror and bright lights so you can see your entire body. It is important to be able to examine all areas of your skin, including hard-to-see areas.
Detection guidelines: Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots exhibit:
Asymmetry: One half unlike the other half.
Border: Irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
Color: varies from one area to another, shades of tan and brown; black; sometimes white, red or blue.
Diameter: larger than 6mm as a rule (diameter of a pencil eraser).  
To prevent skin cancer, always protect yourself from the sun. This can be done by wearing hats, preferably with a 2-inch brim, UV-treated sunglasses, protective clothing and waterproof sun block. Make sure one of the main ingredients of the sun blocking lotion is a strong blocking agent, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and that the sun block has a minimum sun protective factor of 15. Also look for sun blocks that protect against both ultraviolet-B rays (UVB) and ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays.
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