Skin Cancer Information
Here in Grand Junction, your skin needs extra protection due to the high UV index that comes along with the great weather and high altitude! At higher altitudes, the thinner atmosphere filters less of the UV radiation. With every 3000-foot increase in elevation, UV levels increase by 10-12%.
- 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in the United States – that’s 9,500 people per day!
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour
- Melanoma is the most common type of cancer among 25-29 year olds
- 1 blistering sunburn during childhood doubles your risk of melanoma later in life
- 1 exposure to tanning beds before age 30 increases your risk of melanoma by 75% and your risk increases with each use
- When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99% – this is why it is important to see your dermatologist!
Know your ABC's (of skin cancer)
A: asymmetry (does not look the same on both sides if you were to fold it in half)
B: border (irregular, jagged border)
C: color (changes in color, multiple colors)
D: diameter (anything bigger than a pencil eraser)
E: evolving (changing over time **most important factor!!)
– Look for a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and says “broad spectrum” – this means it provides UVA and UVB protection.
– Apply sunscreen early and liberally – chemical sunscreens take 15-30 minutes to start working.
– There are chemical and physical sunscreens – both work well when applied correctly. The best sunscreen is the one that you will use!
– Most people do not use enough sunscreen to get the sun protection factor (SPF) listed on the product!
– Adults need about 1oz (a shot glass full) of sunscreen to cover their entire body
– Sunscreen should be reapplied EVERY 2 HOURS!
– It should also be reapplied after swimming, sweating, or exercising. Using a spray sunscreen requires reapplication every 60-90 minutes because it comes off easier.
– Don’t forget about your lips! These are often burned and need a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher.
Don’t rely on sunscreen alone
– Seek shade between 10am-4pm (this is when the UV rays are strongest)
– Use sun protective clothing, wide-brim hat (tightly woven), and sunglasses