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'The Business of Health Care Report'

National Sun Safety Week
06/01/2009

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

June 1–7 is National Sun Safety Week, and now is a great time for employers to inform their workers about how to keep their skin healthy.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, claiming more than 10,000 lives annually, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. The cost of skin cancer to the American economy is staggering. The National Business Group on Health estimates that direct costs of skin cancer to American employers is more than $1.7 billion a year.

Early detection is key in the fight against skin cancer. And unlike other cancers, skin cancer can be easily seen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent for patients whose melanoma is caught and treated before spreading to the lymph nodes.

Encourage employees to talk to their physicians about skin cancer risk, detection and prevention. You can also use wellness and health incentive programs to inform employees about the importance of using sunscreen, protective clothing and sunglasses to prevent harmful exposure.

The sun’s UV rays bounce off sand, snow, concrete and water, so it’s important to apply sunscreens evenly and liberally on all exposed areas, and to reapply after swimming or perspiring. For our faith-based hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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