What could COVID-19 possibly have to do with skin cancer? With health experts promoting outdoor activities to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, people are spending more time outside. Data show that New York state parks had 1 million more visitors in 2020 than they did in 2019.
May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month, and the Cancer Prevention in Action program wants to remind everyone spending time outside to protect your skin against cancer. Follow these simple steps to lower the risk of melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) and other types of skin cancer:
n Use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen with a 15 SPF rating or higher. Apply 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and again after swimming or sweating.
n Wear a wide brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants whenever possible.
n Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
n Avoid direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
n Follow these tips on cloudy days, too. Clouds do not block most UV rays.
Practicing these sun safety tips and not using indoor tanning devices can prevent about 90% of melanomas. If you are a school, day care, business or other community group interested in learning more about preventing skin cancer, please contact us through www.takeactionagainstcancer.com or call 315-261-4760.
The writer is community coordinator for the St. Lawrence Health Initiative. The Cancer Prevention in Action program is supported with funds from New York state.