Skin Cancer Prevention


Summer equals fun in the sun with family and friends!  I recently spent a week with family and planned outings to the beach, the aquatic center, parks, a petting zoo, and hours playing outside.   I was exhausted but the children had a great week and many memories to share.  I recognize a significant change from ten or twenty years ago that was encouraging to me as a cancer data manager.  The variety of methods used for sun protection was interesting.

No one was complaining about applying sunscreen and there were many shapes and sizes and brands visible no matter where we visited.  Adults and children alike appeared to be using sunscreen without complaint and applying frequently.   The fashion in swimming suits has included respect for sun protection from sun shirts and dresses, matching hats and sunglasses, and umbrellas and bags.   Sun protection has become a fashion statement and opportunity!

I also saw tents and carriers and backpacks to protect babies and toddlers from the sun which seemed like a great idea and something I wished we had had many years ago!


The following link from the American Cancer Society provides questions to learn your Sun Safety IQ!

I strongly encourage you to share this with others.   Here are a few examples of questions from the American Cancer Society.

1.     If I am wearing sunscreen, I can stay in the sun as long as I want.

Response:    It is not smart to broil in the sun for several hours, even if you are wearing sunscreen.  These products don’t provide total protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays.  The American Cancer Society recommends that people seek shade and limit time in the sun at midday.  Also, cover up with a shirt, wear a wide-brimmed hat, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30or higher, and reapply it about every 2 hours.  Lip balm with sunscreen is a wise choice.  Don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes!


2.     It is safe to let my children stay in the pool all day if they slip on a T-shirt after a couple hours and reapply sunscreen to their faces, arms, and legs.

Response:    UV rays can easily go through a white cotton t-shirt, especially if it’s wet.  Most wet, light-colored t-shirts only give about as much protection as an SPF 4-sunscreen – certainly not enough for all day and well below the minimum of SPF 30 recommended by the American Cancer Society.  Better clothing choices include dark colors, fabrics with tight weaves, and specially treated garments and swim suits.  Sun –protective clothing can be found at sporting goods stores.  Another great choice is moving into the shade during mid-day, when the sun’s rays are strongest.  For babies younger than 6 months, shade, sun-protective clothing, and hats are best.  As a last resort, pediatricians say that very small amounts of sunscreen can be used on small areas, such as the face and back of the hands.