Editorial: Protect yourself from skin cancer this summer
By Emily Prager
Summer is here, and families will spend more time outdoors. Exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays increases the risk of skin cancer, which is why proper sun protection is essential. In fact, the sun’s UV rays are responsible for about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 86 percent of melanomas.
“Exposure to UV radiation is directly linked to all three forms of skin cancer,” said Perry Robins, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “By adopting good sun safety habits families can enjoy summer outdoor activities without increasing their skin cancer risk.”
The Skin Cancer Foundation offers the following tips to help families enjoy a sun-safe summer:
At the beach
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen daily. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Cover up with clothing. Look for high-UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) swim shirts or rash guards, and choose bathing suits that cover more skin, like one-piece suits and long trunks. Make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen to exposed areas of the skin not covered by fabric. To help avoid missing spots, apply sunscreen before putting on your bathing suit. When shopping for high-UPF clothing, look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
- Avoid tanning. There is no such thing as a safe tan, because tanning itself is caused by DNA damage to the skin. In addition to increasing skin cancer risk, tanning also leads to premature skin aging, including wrinkles, leathery skin and age spots.
At summer camp
- Remind kids to seek the shade. Advise kids to play in shaded areas to limit UV exposure. Check with counselors to see if there are adequate places for campers to seek shade during outdoor activities taking place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are most intense.
- Dress kids in sun-protective clothing. For optimal protection from the sun, send kids to camp in sun-protective clothing. Look for tightly woven or knit, dark- or bright- colored fabrics, which offer the best protection. Don’t forget wide-brimmed hats and wraparound, UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Practice sunscreen application beforehand. Teach children to apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons, or about the size of a golf ball) of sunscreen to all exposed areas 30 minutes before outdoor activities. Remind them to cover easily missed areas such as the back of the neck and tops of the ears. If camp rules allow, ask counselors to help children reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating.
On the road
- Treat your vehicle to window film. Car windows don’t provide complete sun protection. Though UVB radiation is effectively blocked by glass, more than 60 percent of UVA radiation can pass through windows. UV-protective film, also known as window film, blocks out up to 99.9 percent of UV radiation. If you have window film installed, remember that it protects you only when the windows are closed. When shopping for window film, check to see if the product has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
- Drivers beware: Nearly 53 percent of skin cancers in the US occur on the left, or driver’s, side of the body. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, particularly when spending extended time in a car that has no window film.
Additional skin cancer prevention tips
- Do not burn. At any age, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has ever had five or more sunburns.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreen should be used on babies over the age of six months.
—Emily Prager is communications manager for The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Repair of city streets begins in Mission Valley
Recently in Mission Valley, I had the great pleasure to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Mark Kersey to kick-off the beginning of an aggressive road repair plan that will fix over 1,000 miles of streets in the next five years.
That is more than one-third of San Diego’s entire road network.
This plan is a major step in the right direction from when I first took office. In this fiscal year, which began July 1st, the city will fix more than 300 miles of roads. That is roughly the same distance as driving from San Diego to Arizona and back.
The road repairs continue the promise made to taxpayers to reinvest money back into our neighborhoods.
It is especially exciting that the first mile of street repairs began in District 7. Mission Valley is one of the most heavily traveled communities in San Diego where thousands of residents and tourists come to live, work, and play. It is important to our local economy and to District 7 residents that our roads and infrastructure are maintained at the highest levels.
As most District 7 residents already know, this plan couldn’t have started soon enough. After years of budgetary constraints, the funding of San Diego’s roads was severely neglected. In fact, in a 2011 survey, 35% of streets were in good condition, 40% were in fair condition, and 25% were in poor condition.
Though we have a lot of work to do on our roads and infrastructure, this new aggressive street repair project is a strong and positive step in the right direction.
If you know of roads in your community that are in need of repair, please email me at ScottSherman@SanDiego.Gov or call 619-236-6677 with the information.
To continue reading the July enewsletter, please go to tinyurl.com/n9wpktn