Skin Cancer Awareness Month


Ryan Bruce, Contributor

As summer approaches, it’s important to make sure all the time you’re spending in the sun is spent safely. Be sure to wear sunscreen, and reapply every two hours or after swimming. The best choice for sunscreen is at least SPF 15, and both UVA and UVB protection.  It’s also a good choice to wear long sleeves or a wide brimmed hat when possible, as well as sunglasses with UV protection. Having 5 or more sunburns can double your risk of having melanoma in the future. Every year, more people will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the US than all other types of cancer combined, at over 9500 people diagnosed with skin cancer every day. One in five people will develop skin cancer by the time they are 70. Being exposed to the UV rays in sunlight without proper protection increases your risk of developing skin cancer, but anyone can get skin cancer. Make sure to check your skin for unusual lumps, growths, moles, or spots that don’t heal. If you choose, you can participate in the Skin Cancer Foundation’s #SkinCheckChallenge. From their website, here are the steps:

  • First, check your skin from head to toe. Look for anything new, changing or unusual.
  • Then, post a photo or video of your skin check and share it online with the hashtag #SkinCheckChallenge.
  • Share a “thumbs up” pic or get creative! Tag us and tell us if you found anything.
  • Then, invite two friends to do it too.

Though skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it is also the most preventable and treatable. When it is detected early, melanoma has a 99% 5-year survival rate. This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously, however. Every hour, 2 people will die of skin cancer, and the number of melanoma deaths is projected to increase by 4.4% in 2023. Seriously, you need to be protecting yourself and checking your skin. That number will continue to go up if people aren’t aware. The Skin Cancer Foundation also offers you the option to share your story on social media if you have been personally affected by skin cancer. You can use #ThisIsSkinCancer on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or you can submit directly to the Skin Cancer Foundation here.