May is skin cancer awareness month, and with summer approaching, what better time to discuss ways to keep you and your family safe while enjoying the sunshine. As a child of the 80s, we grew up children of sun worshippers. If you can envision and smell the tin tube of Bain de Soleil, applied baby oil to make sure you got as red as a pepper, and went to a tanning salon (GASP) before prom season, then you are right there with me.
Flash forward a decade or so later, and the trips to the dermatologists were a lot scarier than years before. Biopsies, Moh’s surgery, and understanding the ABCDEs of skin cancer detection became of utmost importance. As a generation, we had to become educated on skin cancer. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. It is the most common type of cancer in the United States.
Personally, I get whole body skin checks twice a year due to family history and having had many suspicious moles and sun spots. I have trained myself to apply sunscreen to my face and neck daily, even in the winter, and wear hats whenever I’m exposed to the sun for a long time. I have learned that the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and try to spend less time exposed during those hours. I try to remain aware of my children’s sun exposure as a parent. They wear rash guards and hats and reapply sunscreen often.