Letter: Play it safe with your skin this summer
We're officially in the "dog days" of summer, the hottest stretch of the year. While many of us enjoy the warmer weather and sunshine, as a dermatologist, I want you to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun while you're outside. People of all skin tones are at risk for damage from the intense sun of summertime.
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer? Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States and needs to be taken seriously because it can be fatal. More than 3 million people are treated for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer in this country each year.
Here are sun safety tips to help prevent skin cancers:
• Always wear SPF 30 sunscreen
• Wear sunglasses
• Wear protective clothing and a hat with a broad brim
• If possible, limit your time in the sun, especially during midday
And while skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, it's also highly treatable if diagnosed and treated early. So, don't delay a visit to your doctor's office if you notice changes in your skin, including a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal or variations of an existing mole or spot.
Many of us have avoided necessary care in recent years, but if you notice something different on your skin, schedule a medical appointment right away.
With those safety precautions in place, enjoy the summer.
Clarence W. Brown Jr., President
Illinois State Medical Society