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Summer is in full swing, and August is Summer Sun Safety Month. Let’s talk SPF:
How do you counsel patients about the importance of skin protection during the summer months?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology,1 skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States: it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and approximately 9500 individuals in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma—the 2 most common skin cancers—are highly treatable, if they are detected early and treated possible. The 5-year survival rate for melanoma, when detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes, is 99%; that number drops to 68% and 30% for melanoma that spreads to nearby lymph nodes and melanoma that spreads to distant lymph nodes and other organs, respectively.
One of the biggest risk factors for developing skin cancer is excess exposure to UV radiation, whether that exposure is from outdoor sunlight or indoor tanning. However, UV exposure is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor: according to research, regular use of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher may reduce this risk, as can wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, seeking shade when outdoors, and avoiding indoor tanning beds.