Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are recognizing UV Awareness Month, and encourage residents to protect themselves and their families while enjoying outdoor activities in the summertime, and throughout the year.
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and there are three major kinds: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma, the deadliest form. Melanoma is less common than some other types of skin cancer, but it is more likely to grow and spread.
Approximately 96,480 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 57,220 in men and 39,260 in women) in the U.S. this year and 7,320 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 4,740 men and 2,490 women). According to the American Cancer Society, the rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years.
UV damage can also cause wrinkles, blotchy skin and damage your eyes. Anyone can get skin cancer, but the risk is greatest for people with white or light-colored skin with freckles, blonde or red hair and blue or green eyes.
Gelman advises residents that they can help prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage by taking these precautions:
Reduce exposure to the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Always wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to 50.
Wear lip protection with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Reapply sunscreen every hour or two, especially after swimming, sweating or participating in any outdoor activity.
Wear protective clothing and accessories when in the sun. This may include a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, a long-sleeve shirt or long pants.
Check your skin regularly for changes.
“Orange County residents should take precautions to protect their skin year-round,” Gelman said. “The summer presents additional dangers, as most people spend more time outdoors. Skin cancer is preventable and protecting yourself and your family from the sun’s UV rays can greatly reduce your chances of developing the disease.”