President's Prescription: Sun Exposure - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

President's Prescription: Sun Exposure

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

It's important to wear your sunscreen. Some people think doctors sound like a broken record, but as skin cancer continues to be the most common type of cancer, doctors still need to remind the public to protect themselves in the sun. Still there's a lot you may not know about the number one cancer.

·         Tattoos increase your risk for skin and other cancer. It's now known that the ink in tattoos contains carcinogens. If you already have a tattoo, be mindful of your added risk. If you're thinking about a tattoo, it's important to weigh all of the pros and cons.

·         Skin cancer affects men more. Men are more likely to be both diagnosed and killed by melanoma. Even more startling, the incidence of skin cancer in men is seven times higher than it was 30 years ago. Even though a lot of blame is put on women, who are much more likely to use tanning beds, men's lifestyles still put them at a higher risk for skin cancer.

·         Not all sunscreen are equal. It's important to use a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin. And while better than nothing, added SPF to cosmetics and body lotions may be much less than you need to stay safe.

·         You must reapply. You need to touch up your sunscreen at least every two hours, and hourly if your sweating, spending time in midday sun or swimming. Some studies reveal that reapplying sunscreen throughout the day as directed is one of the most important factors determining how effective your sunscreen will be in preventing skin cancer.

·         Be proactive. Since patient or family-discovered melanoma accounts for more than half of all melanoma diagnoses, you should perform exams regularly. Ask a spouse or family member to inspect areas you can't see for abnormalities.

 So, if you're not in the habit of wearing proper sun protection, start. And remember, sunscreen, even that with a high SPF is not a substitute for covering your skin and avoiding the sun as much as possible. Even one bad sunburn over the course of a lifetime significantly increases your risk for skin cancer. 
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