May is “Skin Cancer Awareness Month” and today, May 6th, is set aside for specifically Melanoma Awareness Day. Melanoma Black Monday is aimed at raising awareness about the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old. People are wearing black and using black ribbons as part of Melanoma Monday.
The weather is getting warmer and those of us here in the Midwest are rejoicing as the sun finally reappears after a long, hard winter. As families head outdoors for the summer, please think about how to keep kids as safe as possible when it comes to sun exposure.
Here are some facts about melanoma:
- Melanoma kills more young women below the age of 29 that any other form of cancer and is second to only to breast cancer in women up to the age of 39.
- Melanoma rates among teens and people in their early 20’s are increasing at what some dermatologist are calling epidemic rates.
- There is no cure for melanoma. Prevention is the only way to beat this disease. Which brings up back to sunscreen.
The best thing you can do for you and your kids? Apply sunscreen. Please make sure it is SPF 30 or higher. SPF of at least 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s rays. (And no, you cannot apply SPF 15 twice and get the same protection as SPF 30. Doesn’t work that way.)
There is a plethora of sunscreen available today. I know that the sunscreen aisle at Target is long and overwhelming. The American Academy of Dermatology assembled this infographic on selecting the best sunscreen – one that prevents sunburn, reduces your risk of getting skin cancer and helps prevent early signs of skin aging.
Also, parents, please take care of yourselves. I know you focus on protecting the kids. By the time you’ve slathered up several kids and gathered all the items necessary for a day at the pool or the ball fields, you’re already 10 minutes late and dashing out the door without sunscreen. Please don’t do that. Take care of yourself. Your kids need you. Trust me, my parenting skills (and really all my skills) suffered as I recovered from surgery for basal cell skin cancer last year.
Putting on sunscreen is a small act that has big benefits for both you and your kids. If you want more facts and stats on melanoma, click here.
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