Sun Sense Aids in Safe Sun-Behavior
May is “Melanoma Awareness Month”. We are headed toward the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacations.
Although melanoma accounts for only about 4 to 5 percent of all skin cancer cases, it causes most skin cancer-related deaths.
It is a time to review safe sun-behavior as this is a major way to prevent skin cancers of all types. Safe sun-behavior begins with limiting your exposure. It is best to avoid or limit time in the sun between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. When that can’t be done, then products like UVSunSense can aid in monitoring your exposure to harmful rays.
UVSunSense is a wristband that monitors your exposure to sun. If you and your children have trouble remembering to reapply sunscreen or to just get out of the sun, then this might be just the ticket.
Even young children can be taught to recognize the color changes the band goes through with exposure to the sun’s UV rays. You should use only one band a day. After placing the band around the wrist, apply your sunscreen over your exposed skin AND the band. The new band will turn a bright purple with exposure to the sun, indicating it has been activated.
When the band fades to light pink, it is recommended to reapply sunscreen on your body and on the band. When the band fades and turns pale yellow, it is recommended to cover up or get out of the sun. The bands are made of recycled plastic. Recycle them after use.
Other safe sun practice include the following:
- Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside.
- Reapply every two hours when outside at a beach, etc. for adequate protection.
- Use even on a cloudy day. Up to 40 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day.
- Shield your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses. Squinting caused wrinkles around the eyes. The UV rays can cause cataracts.
- Wear a wide-brim hat to help protect your head & neck.
- Don't forget to apply lip balm with SPF 15 or higher.
Early detection of melanoma is important as this is when it is most curable. In men, melanoma is most often found on the area between the shoulders and hips or on the head and neck. In women, melanoma often develops on the lower legs.
Know your ABCD’s with regards to melanoma skin lesions:
- “A” for Asymmetry – Basically, one side does not look like the other.
- “B” for Border irregularity – Lots of moles grow, but beware of irregular jagged borders
- “C” for Color Variation – Lots of moles have pigment, but be wary of different colors in the same mole.
- “D” for Diameter – Moles that are larger than a head of a pencil eraser (about 6mm.) are more concerning for melanoma
If you have any of the above changes in moles, then make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible for further evaluation.