Rockland Health Department Announces Skin Cancer Detection And Prevention Month

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Skin Cancer Detection And Prevention Month

Rockland County Department of Health encourages residents to take preventive measures against skin cancer while they are enjoying various outdoor activities.

"Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. Skin cancer can almost completely be avoided if people would protect their skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds, and follow the American Cancer Society simple guidelines," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Joan Facelle.

The guidelines are as follows:

# Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Always follow the label directions.

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# Protect children from sun exposure by applying sunscreen. Avoiding sunburn during childhood and adolescence is very important in reducing the risk of skin cancer later in life. Sunscreen is not recommended for children less than six months old. Keep infants in the shade and protect them with clothing.

# Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

# Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun's UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are unsure about the sun's intensity, take the shadow test. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun's rays are the strongest.

# Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn. UV rays are present even on cloudy days.

# Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet, and talk to your doctor about including vitamin supplements.

# Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

# Examine your skin regularly and have a skin exam during your regular health checkups. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

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