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May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in America and the number of cases diagnosed annually is greater than breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers combined. Melanoma, a form of the disease, is the number one cancer in people ages 25 to 29 and one American dies of melanoma every hour. Skin cancer affects people of all ages and ethnicities and although it is highly preventable, more than $2 billion is spent annually in America to treat it.
The RRCA has partnered with Outrun the Sun, Inc. to bring our readers this important message. Outrun the Sun is dedicated to building national awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers, educating communities about preventive measures that reduce melanoma’s incidence rate, and to raising funds for melanoma research, leading to effective treatments and a potential cure. Learn more about Outrun the Sun and the Outrun the Sun Race in May at http://outrunthesun.org/
- In 2012, more than 116,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease.
- By 2012, it is estimated that one in 50 people will be diagnosed with melanoma.
- Melanoma is on the rise more than any other cancer.
- One person dies nearly every hour from melanoma.
- Melanoma affects people of every age and every race.
- The incidence rate for children 18 and under increased 84 percent from 1975 to 2005.
- Government funding for medical research, including melanoma research, has been reduced, making the work of nonprofit organizations like Outrun the Sun, Inc. essential.
Many cases of skin cancer could be prevented. Be smart and learn the ABCDE’s of melanoma.
Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
Border: The borders of the mole are irregular, ragged, blurred, or notched.
Color: The color of the mole is not the same throughout. There may be differing shades of tan, brown, black, red, blue, or white.
Diameter: The mole is larger than 6 millimeters (about 1/4 inch, roughly the size of a pencil eraser).
Evolution: The mole has been growing or changed it’s shape or color.
Sun Safety Tips
- Generously apply sunscreen that protects you from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
- Use a sunscreen with a sun protective factor of 30 or higher.
- Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves.
- Seek clothing with a built-in sun protective factor.
- Seek shade between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
- Be extra careful near water, sand, or snow as they reflect the sun’s rays.
- Get vitamin D safely through diet and vitamin supplements, not through sun exposure.
- Avoid tanning beds and their harmful ultraviolet rays.
- Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from ocular melanoma.
- Perform skin self exams regularly and take note of any changes in existing moles, new moles, changes in birthmarks or other differences in your skin.
- Visit a trained dermatologist annually for a complete, head-to-toe, skin exam.
- Support melanoma education and research.
For the first time, Americans have the opportunity to team up against skin cancer by participating in the national Outrun the Sun Race in May. The Outrun the Sun Race in May is a “virtual race” that launches May 1, kicking off National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month. It offers anyone, no matter where they live, the opportunity to support sun safety and early detection by registering online. Registrants receive sun safety information and contacts for skin exams. They also have the ability to raise funds for skin cancer education and melanoma research. Participants run or walk any day in May, making this a perfect “event” for individuals, families, co-workers, running clubs, schools, and others interested in combining exercise with sun safety.
The Outrun the Sun Race in May spokesperson is Deena Kastor, Olympic medalist, American record holder, RRCA Roads Scholar, and melanoma survivor. “From basal cell carcinoma to melanoma I have successfully fought skin cancer through early detection,” outlines Kastor. “I encourage everyone to visit a dermatologist and to register for the Outrun the Sun Race in May. Join me in pledging to be sun smart.”