Keeping Safe in the Sun

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers but it is never too late to reduce your chances of developing it. By educating yourself about the dangers of sun exposure you and your family can enjoy your poolside oasis even more.

To reduce your exposure to UV radiation, while outside and especially between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, cover exposed skin with sunscreen and be sure it blocks both UVB and UVA light. Waterproof sunscreen will last longer than water resistant if you are sweating or in the water. Remember that sunscreen usually rubs off if you wipe yourself with a towel. To make sunscreen most effective, apply it 20 to 30 minutes before going outside. A palm-sized amount should be enough to cover an average adult’s arms, legs, neck, and face. The America Cancer Society says that most sunscreens need to be reapplied about every two hours or sooner, but be sure to check the label. The sooner you detect skin cancer, the better!

Remeber, it is important to check your skin often, preferably once a month. For basal and squamous cell cancers look for new growths, spots, bumps, patches, or sores that don’t heal after two to three months. Basal cell carcinomas often look like flat, firm, pale areas or small, raised, pink or red, translucent, shiny, waxy areas that may bleed after a minor injury. Squamous cell carcinomas may look like growing lumps, often with a rough, scaly or crusted surface. They may also look like flat, reddish patches in the skin that grow slowly.

For melanomas use the ABCD rule. Be on the lookout and tell your doctor about any spots that match the following description.

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other
  • B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue
  • D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 1/4 inch across (the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger

Some melanomas do not fit the ABCD rule, so any changes in skin markings should be discussed with your doctor. Remember, sun safety is important all year round, not just during the summer.

The ACS provided information for this article and can be reached at 1-800-227-2345 or



One Comment

  1. Adriana says:

    thanks for share!


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