It's that time of year again. The time we review our life, look back at past mistakes and resolve to make positive changes in the next year. According to ProActiveChange.com, between 40 and 45 percent of all adult Americans make a New Year's resolution each year. Unfortunately, we often don't make it all the way through the year, only 46 percent of those who make a resolution make it 6 months. However, research also shows that those who make resolutions are more likely to reach their goals than those who don't bother trying.
With that in mind, the following are some resolutions you can make to reduce your chances of developing skin cancer:
Establish a Routine of Sun Protection - Every Day
The majority of skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas are a direct result of overexposure to the sun over an extended period of time. It is never too late to limit your exposure, practicing sun protection on a daily basis. Some ways to practice sun-safety are:
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on a daily basis. On days when you will be outside for an extended period of time, use an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied approximately 30 minutes before you go outside and should be reapplied every 2 hours or after excessive sweating or shimming.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. when the sun rays are strongest.
- Use protective clothing, such as light colored clothing, wide brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses
Using tanning beds increase your risk of developing melanoma by approximately 75 percent. This is true whether the tanning bed uses UVA and UVB rays or UVA rays only according to a study which appeared in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, May 27, 2010. Because the risk of developing skin cancer is so much higher for those using tanning beds, a good resolution is simply to stay away.
If you are at risk for developing skin cancer, your doctor may request follow up visits more often than once a year, however, for most people, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends seeing your doctor on an annual basis for a check-up. Skin cancer, when detected and treated early, is the most treatable cancer. Improve your chances of survival by scheduling your annual check-up right away.
In between doctor's visits, perform monthly self-examinations. When done on a regular basis, these exams should take about 10 minutes. By performing self-exams each month, you will be able to see any changes in skin lesions or moles and can immediately speak with your doctor to find out if further testing is necessary. Taking this pro-active step may be the best possible way to make sure any skin cancer is detected early.
Besides these specific steps to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, create a skin care regimen you will follow every day. Taking care of your skin will leave you with a healthy glowing look.
"New Year's Resolutions from the Skin Cancer Foundation," 2011, Staff Writer, Skin Cancer Foundation
"Research: Statistics on New Year's Resolutions," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, ProActiveChange.com
"Tanning Beds Can Greatly Boost Melanoma Risk, 2010, May 27, Steven Reinberg, HealthScout.com
Published On: January 02, 2012