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  • Writer's pictureThalia Polk

Skin Cancer: Just the facts.


While May is skin cancer awareness month, I believe that skin cancer is a topic we need to keep present in our minds daily. After all, the sun doesn’t just shine in May. Here on Earth, the sun beams its glorious rays down on us 12 hours a day. And if the sun is up, no matter how high it is in the sky - peak hours, or not - it is emitting harmful UV rays.


I don't mean to make the sun out to be such a terrible villain or be overdramatic. The truth is, I absolutely love the sun! In fact, there was a time when I was literally addicted to it. The reality is, we couldn’t survive without it. Think about that for a minute... How would we grow our food? But, just like anything else, moderation is key - too much of a good thing can be very “bad”. Regarding the sun, its very bad effect on us is skin cancer.


So, let’s dive into the facts and stats!

Here are a few facts and statistics that I have gathered from the Skin Cancer Foundation at skincancer.org and the American Academy of Dermatology Association at aad.org. Please visit their sites for more!

  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.

  • The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma.

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

  • In the U.S. more than 9500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every DAY.

  • More than two people die of this disease every HOUR.

  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to INDOOR TANNING, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas, and 6,200 melanomas.

  • Having 5 or more sunburns in your lifetime doubles your risk for melanoma.

  • Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers, however, when detected early the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.

  • About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

  • More than 5,400 people worldwide die of non-melanoma skin cancer every month.

  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent.

  • Each year in the U.S., more than 15,000 people die of squamous cell carcinoma (the second most common skin cancer).

    • That is more than twice as many as die from melanoma.

      • This is because squamous cell carcinoma is much more common than melanoma.

    • However, melanoma has a higher death rate per diagnosis than squamous cell carcinoma.

  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer.

    • It is very rarely fatal but can penetrate nerves and bones causing damage and disfigurement if allowed to grow.


Prevention

Not only can these tips help prevent you from getting skin cancer, but they’ll also protect your skin from sun damage, in turn preventing pre-mature aging. That's a win-win, right?!

  • Wear your sunscreen EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even on cloudy days!

  • When outdoors, make sure you apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours.

  • Seek shade when outside.

  • Wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

  • Take extra caution near sand, snow, and water.

  • Avoid tanning beds and sunbathing.

  • Install a protective window film to windows in your car and home. Don’t forget the fort windshield of your car!

  • Eat a healthy diet.

  • Perform monthly self-checks.

  • See a Dermatologist once a year.


Risk Factors

This is a list of factors that increase the risk of skin cancer. These factors do not mean that you have skin cancer. They are meant to be used as a tool to assess your individual risk for skin cancer. If you are concerned, please see a Dermatologist.

  • Indoor tanning use

  • Number of sunburns

  • Skin type

  • Unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays

  • Genetics

  • Atypical moles

  • Prior history of skin cancer

  • Age over 50

  • Organ transplant

  • Red hair

Coming Up...

This is part two of a multi-part series. Over the next three weeks, I will be discussing the three most common types of skin cancer.


Did you miss my first article in this series? Check it out here:

 

I would love to help you achieve your skin goals!


Visit my website to view my entire menu of services. Then, email me at thaliapolkesthetics@gmail.com, or DM me via Instagram or Facebook. I’ll get you set up with a comprehensive consultation and skin analysis, and we'll sail off on your skin transformation journey together!


Do you have questions about anything in this post? Leave a comment right here in this post or email me at thaliapolkesthetics@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!


XOXO,

Thalia

 

References:

Skin Cancer Foundation; skincancer.org

American Academy of Dermatology Association; aad.org

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