CARSON CITY — Summer is near and the Nevada State Health Division (NSHD) reminds Nevadans to take care every day to prevent skin cancer. Nevadans take part in many outdoor activities, and these activities take place in fairly high elevations with more than 250 sunny days per year. May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and the Friday before Memorial Day is designated “Don’t Fry Day.” Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than 2 million cases diagnosed annually.
In 2009, there were 636 cases of melanoma in Nevada. Melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. All skin cancer is largely preventable, but you must reduce your risk by heeding the following advice.
• Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using an SPF of at least 30 and follow the guidelines on the label for amounts and reapplication schedule.
• Wear protective clothing: On days when it is hotter outside than it is in your body, clothing insulates you from heat as it does from cold. Wearing light-colored, lightweight clothing, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses prevents heatstroke and sun damage. Light-colored, lightweight clothing keeps some of the sweat away from the skin to keep you comfortable, but retains enough of it to help the sweat do its job of keeping you cool.
• Use extra caution near water, snow and sand: Damaging rays of the sun can reflect off these surfaces, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
• Watch/listen for the UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun.
• Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Avoid tanning beds: UV light from tanning beds is known to cause skin cancer and premature wrinkling.
For more information, visit www.skincancerprevention.org or www.health.nv.gov.