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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Now That Summer Is Here

Hey folks,

In today’s Health and Science segment, I want to talk about something that I do not take as serious as I should, and most of the time, do not even think about. Now that school is out or about to be all across the country, our kids will not be thinking about this either. But we really should.

You see, I spend A LOT of time outside. I am pretty dark as a result. My son Joshua is VERY fair skinned. He spends more than two hours outside and can get burned. My wife is the same way. Sun burn is bad, but what I’m talking about today is worse. Skin Cancer.

According to An Introduction to Skin Cancer

(From the National Cancer Institute PDQ Statement)

Skin cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the outer layers of your skin. Your skin protects your body against heat, light, infection, and injury. It also stores water, fat, and vitamin D.

The skin has two main layers and several kinds of cells. The top layer of skin is called the epidermis. It contains three kinds of cells: flat, scaly cells on the surface called squamous cells; round cells called basal cells; and cells called melanocytes, which give your skin its color.

Get this fact.

It is estimated that 1 out of 7 people in the United States will develop some form of this cancer during their lifetime. One serious sunburn can increase the risk by as much as 50%.

Now I went back and forth in my mind about posting pictures of skin cancer. I decided against it for various reasons. But trust me, it’s not pretty.

I cannot tell you strong enough how important it is for you to protect yourself. According to Health Day -Health Tip: Understanding Sun Protection Factor

(HealthDay News) -- Sun protection factor (SPF) is a rating given to sunscreens to help gauge the amount of protection they provide against the sun's damaging UV rays.

An SPF of 15 means you'll have 15 times the amount of protection from the sun that you normally would without any sunscreen, the Nemours Foundation says. That means spending 15 minutes in the sun with SPF 15 applied is the equivalent of spending roughly 1 minute in the sun without any sunscreen.

Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is recommended for anyone, especially children. Sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays offer the most benefit, the foundation says.

It is also highly recommended that you limit your sun exposure during the peck times, when the sun is at it’s strongest between the hours of 10am - 2pm.

As we go out on summer vacations and play times, we just do not care about anything but having fun. Our kids think even less. But let’s be smart about it and take some precautions prior, then go have fun.

I still cannot get the one point out of my head. One serious sunburn can increase the risk by as much as 50%. I know with the amount of time I spend outside I REALLY should take it more seriously. I am going to start.

I want to wrap it up with this. If you do find that you have gotten diagnosed with skin cancer or actually ANY kind of cancer, you are not alone. There is a place you can go online to chat with other people live that have it, or have been through it. You do NOT have to be going through this alone. There is a GREAT video on their front page. They are the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. You can also call them at 800-515-1214. Remember, a diagnoses is not necessarily a death sentence. They can help you.

Let’s all have a great summer, fun times, and not worry. But let’s be smart about it as well. Happy Vacationing to you.

An Introduction to Skin Cancer
Health Day -Health Tip: Understanding Sun Protection Factor
Cancer Treatment Centers of America

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