Comprehensive Cancer Centers urges everyone to be sun smart to reduce risks for skin cancer during July’s Ultraviolet Safety Month

Part of living in Southern Nevada includes having nearly 300 sunny days to enjoy every year. This sun exposure requires special attention and Comprehensive Cancer Centers regularly reminds everyone to be sun-smart and take necessary precautions to mitigate the risks of UV rays. Efforts such as Ultraviolet Safety Awareness Month in July provide the opportunity to reinforce the simple precautions residents need to take to reduce risks for skin cancer and other health issues.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with Nevada actually on the lower end of the national spectrum. While precautions have been helpful in keeping Nevadans safe, the unfortunate fact remains that melanoma rates doubled nationally, from 1982 to 2011 and people must be more cautious with time spent in the sun.

There are three major types of skin cancer (LINK 4) treated by the oncologists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are highly treatable. Reducing risks for skin cancer starts with understanding UV rays and working towards minimizing exposure by being sun smart all year long.

What Are UV Rays and What Do They Do?

The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both types can damage your eyes and skin. UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin. UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin. Unprotected sun exposure, and UV rays, can cause the following harm to residents of Southern Nevada:

  • Skin cancer
  • Damage to your eyes
  • Immune system suppression
  • Premature aging

By learning the risks associated with too much sun exposure and taking the right precautions to protect you and your family from UV rays, everyone can enjoy the sun and outdoors safely. The following are simple things that can minimize the risk that comes with sun exposure.

Cover Up: Wearing a Hat (preferably wide brimmed) or other shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and Sunglasses – for eye protection.

Stay in the Shade: The sun’s glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter. For this reason, it is important to stay protected throughout the year.

Choose the Right Sunscreen: This is extremely important. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and should protect against both UV-A and UV-B rays.  Comprehensive takes that a step further, and recommends people use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. When out in the sun, apply at least one ounce of sunscreen every two hours. Apply sunscreen more often when sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.

Comprehensive Helps You Stay Sun Smart

Comprehensive Cancer Centers works hard to help residents of the Las Vegas area practice a sun-smart lifestyle outdoors through its expanding skin safety awareness footprint throughout the valley. Its partnerships provide complimentary SPF 30 sunscreen and tips for locals to keep in mind when out in the sun.  Free sunscreen kiosks can be found at popular local sporting events including Las Vegas Aviators and Las Vegas Lights games, in Clark County parks, at the Cadence master planned community and more (LINK).

While having warm summer rays, it’s important to remember that UV rays are everywhere and every day, even during cloudy days. Protection from these rays is vital – by taking the proper precautions and following this advice, you and your loved ones can safely soak up the sun.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with skin cancer, as well as other services including cancer research for many other cancer types. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.