The most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S. is skin cancer. When it is detected and treated early, certain types of skin cancer are readily treatable. Of course, prevention is the best medicine. Many people are diligent about applying sunscreen during the spring and summer months, yet may not necessarily be quite so diligent in other seasons. Here at Riverside Community Hospital, our cancer care specialists work with oncology patients every day to improve their chances of survival. Our team strongly encourages our neighbors throughout Riverside to take care of their skin in every season.
The Risk of Unprotected Sunlight Exposure
The sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays inflict damage on the skin cells and may eventually lead to cancerous abnormalities. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, hot or chilly, and summer or winter, UV rays readily reach Earth’s surface and penetrate the skin. Unprotected sun exposure and intentional tanning activities during any time of the year significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Even when skin cancer is detected early and is successfully treated, patients may be left with disfiguration and the aftermath of emotional trauma.
The Ways You Can Protect Yourself
There are many simple ways you can reduce your risk of skin cancer. Once you get into the habit of guarding against UV rays, it will seem like second nature to you. First, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin about 30 minutes before leaving your home. It’s recommended that you choose a product with an SPF of at least 30. Remember to apply sunscreen to areas like the ears, neck, and hands. Follow the instructions on the product label regarding how often you should reapply sunscreen. Choose lip balm that has built-in sunscreen. Whenever possible, choose clothing that protects you from the sun, such as wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeve shirts. If you plan on hitting the slopes this winter season, you should know that the heavy winds and snow can quickly degrade the effectiveness of sunscreen. It’s a good idea to touch up your protection while you’re riding on the chairlift.
At Riverside Community Hospital, you’ll find comprehensive cancer care services. We offer extensive patient support, screening exams, diagnostics, and sophisticated medical interventions. If you live near Riverside and you’d like to request a referral to a cancer care specialist, give us a call today at (951) 788-3463.