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Protect Your Skin, Reduce Your Risk

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the
United States in 2010 — more than any other form of cancer.

"There is no known amount of safe sun exposure,” says Cindy Harrington, M.D., dermatologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton. “Although it’s impossible to completely avoid sunlight, there are several steps you can take to limit your exposure to ultraviolet [UV] rays and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.”

Dr. Harrington recommends the following measures to reduce your skin cancer risk:

• Wear sunscreen. Apply a broadspectrum (both UVA- and UVB-blocking), water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating. Sunscreen also should be worn on cloudy days.

• Cover up. Wear protective, lightweight clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.

• Seek shade. The sun’s rays are especially intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid being outdoors during this time or seek shade when possible.

• Get screened. Frequently examine your skin for any abnormalities or changes in appearance. Any suspicious areas should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

(Summer 2010)

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