It may seem a little surprising, but getting too much sun can actually put you at risk for developing melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Protect yourself with sunscreen to prevent skin cancer!
Why should I use sunscreen?
Sunscreen creates extra protection for your skin to protect against the sun’s strong rays. Using sunscreen every time you are outside (even if it’s cloudy) will prevent against painful sunburns, wrinkly skin and even melanoma. People from all backgrounds, with all skin types/colors need to wear sunscreen to protect from these harmful rays. Melanoma doesn’t just happen to older people, everyone is at risk after they have gone through puberty (this probably means you!) Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in young people ages 15-29.
Which sunscreen is best?
You always want to use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays so make sure to read the label! Sunscreen with an SPF (this is what protects your skin from the sun) factor of 30 or more is what you want to look for. Be sure to put sunscreen on before going out in the sun to allow time for it to work.
Here are some tips from Impact Melanoma to keep you safe in the sun!
- Avoid the sun when it’s strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Use an SPF of 30+ daily on parts of your body that are exposed to sun
- Reapply SPF every two hours, or after sweating a lot or swimming
- Wear protective clothing, hats and protective sunglasses
- Avoid tanning beds, tans and sunburns
- Get an annual skin exam or talk to your primary care physician about checking your skin
- Talk with your family members and know your health history. If anyone in your family has had melanoma, you are at a greater risk!
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You can probably guess some of the most common forms of tobacco … cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco are just a few of them. And although you may see people smoking or chewing tobacco all the time, it’s actually a huge health risk.
Cigarettes Can Kill
Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. In fact, cigarettes cause more than 480,000 early deaths in the U.S every year—from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
It’s Addictive … and Expensive
One of the chemicals in tobacco is nicotine. Nicotine helps your body create dopamine, a natural chemical that you get when enjoying good food, your favorite activity, or spending time with people you care about. Using tobacco products will give you that good feeling, but the effect wears off quickly, causing people who smoke to get the urge to light up again. It’s a dangerous cycle that can quickly lead to addiction and an expensive habit.
Are Hookahs or E-Cigarettes Safe?
No! Studies have found that a typical hookah session delivers about 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine, and 10 times the carbon monoxide as smoking a cigarette.
E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine without the other chemicals—but testing of some e-cigarette products found the vapor to contain toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Your best bet? Just don’t smoke!
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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month … but did you know there are other cancers that affect women’s reproductive organs, too?
Breaking It Down
So what are “reproductive organs,” anyway? Women’s reproductive organs include the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva. Cancers that start in these places are called gynecologic cancers. (Woah… did you even know you could get cancer there?)
How Do I Know if I Have Cancer?
Every cancer is unique with its own signs, symptoms, and risks. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers and the risk only increases with age. Of all these cancers, the only one that is routinely screened for is cervical cancer with a pap smear starting at age 21. Yearly exams with a gynecologist or trained health care provider are important to screen for any early signs of cancer and many other health problems. Remember to get your pap starting at 21 and come in yearly for an annual exam regardless of age.
How to Prevent Cancer
It’s hard to actually prevent anything … but you can always make smart decisions to try to avoid cancer. Most gynecologic cancers are caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV), so the best thing you can do is avoid getting HPV. But how?
Using condoms for safe sex are a great start, because they’ll help protect you from HPV and other STDs. Or, if you’re under 21, you can get the HPV vaccine! The HPV vaccine is just 3 shots over six months. Although there’s no 100% guarantee that you’ll avoid cancer, the HPV vaccine can greatly reduce your risk.
Want to know more about gynecologic health and cancers? Check it out: