North Dakota Skin Cancer Rate is Higher than the National Average
The weather is warming up and we'll all be spending more time outdoors. The month of May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that North Dakota has a skin cancer rate that is HIGHER than the national average? I cringe each time I see someone post a photo online of their sunburn. A sunburn is dangerous and it's totally avoidable.
Read the article below to brush up on your expertise and possibly save a life.
An estimated 5 million people receive a skin cancer diagnosis each year. The most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma, has a higher propensity to spread to other body regions. Skin cancer is almost always treatable if caught early. Check for any growths, moles, or any dark patches or spots on your skin.
So, what can be done to stop skin cancer? We need to protect our skin in ALL seasons. Getting a “tan” whether outdoors or from a tanning bed is not healthy. We do not need a lot of sun exposure. Self-tanning lotions are considered safe.
The North Dakota Cancer Coalition offers the following advice that might be useful:
Cover up to protect exposed skin. Wear long sleeves. Wear a hat with a wide brim. Ball caps do not protect your ears or the back of your neck. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and seek shade to protect yourself from UVA/UVB rays during the midday. Every two hours, reapply sunscreen. Additionally, because US drivers sit on the left side of the car, skin cancers are more common on the left side of the body due to the sun exposure coming through the windows. So it's important to apply sunscreen before driving. Talk with a dermatologist for specific product recommendations.
Because Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer it's important to know our skin "A, B, C, D and E's". According to skin experts, these are the warning signs of potential skin cancer.
Asymmetry – The halves do not match.
Borders – Uneven, scalloped or notched.
Color – Variety of colors including brown, tan, black, red and/or blue.
Diameter – Usually larger than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch).
Evolving – Look for changes in size, shape, color, elevation or symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting.
Check out the variety of sun safety resources from the North Dakota Cancer Coalition (search online for “ND Cancer Coalition Skin Cancer”).
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