“What people take for granted on a daily basis, among so many other things, is their skin. I spent my life, like many others, catching some rays, surfing, hanging out in the sun and it never bothered me until now. Who knew that something as simple as a proper sunscreen or keeping yourself covered up on a sunny day could one day save your life?” Danny Federici 1950-2008
Danny Federici, the longtime keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen, died April 17th. Danny was 58 and he died from malignant melanoma. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 65,161 people a year worldwide die from too much sun, mostly from malignant skin cancer. One American dies of malignant melanoma every hour. More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.
According to Dermatologist Victoria A. Cirillo-Hyland, M.D., everyone must be aware of the long term risks of sun exposure. Dr. Cirillo-Hyland tells her patients, “What you do today will matter tomorrow. Most of the sun damage and skin cancer I see on adults is a result of their excessive sun exposure during their youth. We cannot be cavalier about protecting our children from the sun.”
The good news is sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including malignant melanoma. You can have fun in the sun and decrease your risk of skin cancer by:
Generously apply water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to all exposed skin. The key is to re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, using protective clothing and applying sunscreen.
Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can significantly increase your chance of sunburn.
Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. Consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, see a Dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Dr. Cirillo-Hyland reminds her patients of the successful Australian Sunscreen Campaign:
Slip on a shirt,
Slap on a hat, and
Slop on sunscreen.
Skin cancer screening and sunless self-tanning products are available at Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute and Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa. The two dermatology practices are conveniently located adjacent to each other, and represent the area’s largest, most-credentialed skin care center addressing all medical, surgical, pediatric, and cosmetic skin care needs. For more information, contact us at 610.525.5028 and 610.525.5029.