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Focus on Skin Cancer Prevention

Delaware ranks third nationally for skin cancer diagnosis. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and with summer right around the corner, we encourage you to educate yourself on this highly preventable disease with ways to stay sun safe all year long.

Everyone is at risk for skin cancer.

Protection from damaging and dangerous ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation is important year-round. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning damages the epidermis, the skin’s top layer. Long-term sun exposure, sunbathing, using indoor tanning, or having sunburns increases your chance of developing skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States.  Sun exposure also causes premature aging, wrinkles, age spots, and uneven skin tone. But protecting your skin is easy if you do these simple things:

  1. Apply sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. 
  2. Use a water-resistant sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and a broad-spectrum SPF 15+
  3. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  4. Seek shade, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  5. Wear wide-brimmed hats to cover your head, face, neck and ears.
  6. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block 99% or more of UV light.
  7. Wear clothing such as long-sleeve shirts and pants.

Damaging rays can cause skin cancer and melanoma that can threaten your life.

Make sure you’ll be here to enjoy every summer to come by knowing the facts about what can put you at risk.

  1. The sun’s rays reach you on cloudy or hazy days and reflect off of water and sand.
  2. People with light complexions are more likely to sunburn and should use a broad-spectrum SPF 15+.
  3. If you have a family history of skin cancer, you’re more likely to develop it, so be sure to get checked.
  4. If you have freckles, or if your skin reddens or sunburns easily, you’re at greater risk for cancer.
  5. If you have blonde or red hair, or blue or green eyes, you’re more likely to develop skin cancer.
  6. If you work or play outdoors, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by wearing SPF 15+ sunscreen.
  7. Tanning beds, booths and sunlamps have been linked to skin cancers including melanoma, therefore, if you have a history of indoor tanning, you’re more prone to skin cancer and should see a dermatologist.


Not all skin cancers look the same, and may not fit the rules described above.  It’s important to tell your healthcare provider about any changes or new spots on the skin, or growths that look different from the rest of your moles.  That’s why it’s important to self-examine your skin, know what to look for and to see a dermatologist if you identify an irregularity.  View a complete list of dermatologists near you.

[1] American Cancer Society “What Should I Look for on a Skin Self-Exam?”