During Ultraviolet Safety Month, the mission is to spread awareness about how important it is to protect our eyes and skin from the side effects of UV rays. UV (Ultraviolet) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun and some artificial sources.
Lengthened exposure to UV rays can cause most skin cancers, including melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell cancers.
Melanoma: The most dangerous type of skin cancer. It grows quickly and has the ability to spread to any organ. If you notice new unusual growth or change in an existing mole.
ABCDE's of Melanoma (warning signs):
A - Asymmetry, B - Border, C - Color, D - Diameter or Dark, E - Evolving
EARLY DETECTION MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
There is a 99% chance survival rate of 5 years for patients in the U.S. whose melanoma is detected early. The survival rate drops to 68% if the disease reaches the lymph nodes and
30% if it spreads to distant organs (Skin Cancer Foundation).
Basal Cell Carcinoma: The most common form of cancer and the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. Basal cell carcinoma arises from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells. They grow slowly. Most are curable and cause minimal damage when caught and treated early.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A common type of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is usually not life-threatening, but can grow large or spread to other parts of the body if not treated.
Over exposure to UV light rays can also develop a weakened immune system. Vaccines will start to be less effective and our bodies start having a harder time fighting off infections that occur. Problems such as reactivation of herpes can get triggered by sun or other UV ray sources.
What to do to minimize your risk of sun exposure: (American Academy of Dermatology Association)
- Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, every 2 hours as you are exposed to the sun
- Wear sun protective clothing
- Seek shade when appropriate