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How to Protect Your Skin from Cancer

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Get Checked for Skin Cancer iStockphoto/Thinkstock

There's plenty of sun this summer. The vitamin D you receive from the sun's rays is good for health, but the increased risk of skin cancers is not.

Skin cancers can take years to develop. The most lethal type is melanoma and, unfortunately, it is on the increase.

You may be surprised to learn how common skin cancer is, which means you are at risk. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:

• Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.

• Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

Part of the problem is that many of us don't become attentive to protecting our skin until later in life. But the "seeds" of skin cancer may have been planted many years before.

For example, this can happen when a person is a child or teen and receives a bad sunburn at the beach. That’s why protecting your skin (and your children if you are a parent) has to be a daily and lifetime practice.

Arizona is the number one state in the U.S. for skin cancer and number two in the world, according to the Arizona Department of Public Health. That means skin cancer prevention is a top priority for those who live there.

Skin cancer expert Dr. Mark Gimbel, from Banner M.D. Anderson Cancer Center near Phoenix, shared tips on how people can lower their risk in a recent interview. He emphasized the importance of early detection and protection from sun damage before it occurs.

Gimbel also suggested wearing loose-fitting clothing and always carrying a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or above for those unexpected sunny days.

Watch the video interview to hear all of Dr. Gimbel's tips for safe in the sun on at this link on Patient Power:

About the author:

Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.

Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info/ and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis" found at www.websavvypatient.com/


Interview with Mark Gimbel, M.D., Surgical Oncologist, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, Ariz., posted online on 7/31/12 on Patient Power at

Skin Cancer Facts, published by the Skin Cancer Foundation, accessed online on 08/02/12 at

About Skin Cancer, Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, accessed online on 08/02/12 at

Reviewed August 7, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

II have a scar on my right cheek from a large mole removed when I was three years old. It was itchy and the bumpy red part bled when scratched. Turns out it was Basal Cell Carcinoma.

October 10, 2012 - 10:20am
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