Posts Tagged ‘skin cancer’

How did you start your day? I started mine with a visit to the dermatologist. Several months ago (you must plan at least 2-4 months in advance to see a specialist), I decided since it had been 10+ years since my first and only one, I should get an overall skin check. I called the doctor’s office. Since my insurance had changed, I had to verify the doctor was an approved provider. Sure enough he was, so long as the office bills the visit a certain way. As if trying to find a day and time that worked for the visit wasn’t hard enough, I also had to figure out how the office bills! I persisted and was able to confirm that they bill the way the insurance requires. At last, my visit was set! calendar-1763587_1280

You may be wondering why I decided I should go to the dermatologist. I admit, I have a few spots that were of slight concern, but I mainly wanted to get a complete skin check to make sure there were no suspicious areas. My grandpa and my dad both had pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions removed from the ears and the nose. I have always enjoyed being outside and I have not always been diligent about wearing sunscreen or protective clothing. I also have lots of small moles. These all put me at an increased risk for skin cancer.

Well, after meeting the new-to-me doctor, and getting my skin check, I am happy to report that I have no areas of concern. He did point out a few areas for me to be aware and to note if they start to change in color, size or shape. Overall, he confirmed what I already know. I have some spots that are most likely a combination of sun exposure and time. I need to wear sunscreen and protective clothing whenever I go outside. When I am near water, which I am as much as possible in the summer, reflective rays from the sun hit the water and bounce back up, increasing my sun exposure. I had not given much thought to this in the past, but I will definitely pay attention to it now. Overall, the visit was pleasant, informative and reassuring.sun

If you are someone who dreads going to the doctor for any reason, you may want to reconsider. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They can also catch issues earlier when they are easier to treat. The National Institute for Health (NIH) provides a list of screenings based on your age and gender. The list tells you what kinds of tests or exams you should have and how often. You should work with your physician(s) to decide how often you need to schedule a visit.

I know that after my experience, I will not wait 10+ years before I schedule my next appointment. I am relieved that I have no areas of concern right now. I feel empowered to take steps to care for my skin and to try to prevent further damage. I know which areas that I especially need to watch. So, if you have been putting off making an appointment for a routine visit, call your doctor’s office today. It may take several months before you can be seen.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.






Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (November 13, 2017). Skin Cancer, cdc.gov


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (February 6, 2018). Physical exam frequency. . U.S. National Library of Medicine, medline.gov

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Do you think windows will provide sun safety protection? Think again. Glass windows only effectively block Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, leaving you exposed to Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA rays, but side windows may be letting in 63% of the UVA rays.

Does it really make a difference? A recent study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology discovered 53% of all skin cancers in the US occur on the left side (driver’s side) of the body. With early, non-invasive melanomas 76% were found to be on the left side.car windshield

Since, many of us drive our cars without applying sun screen or at least not doing it within the last two hours, how can we protect ourselves? Besides sunscreen you can have transparent window film applied to your car windows which will screen out almost 100% of the UVA and UVB rays without reducing visibility. It is available throughout the US. To ensure quality of window film, check to see if the product has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.

Sunroofs also increase your exposure to UVA rays. The study found over 82% of the skin cancers were on the person’s head or neck. If you have a sunroof keep it closed on sunny days or wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen. The second most common area for skin cancers were on the arm, so put on sunscreen and a long-sleeve shirt. Be sure and wear sun glasses too.

So if you are not safe from UVA rays in the car, what about your home or office windows? You guessed it. UVA rays are getting through. Another study found more signs of sun damage on the sides of people’s faces that were closer tapartment windowso a window. Home or office windows may allow at least 50% of the UVA rays to pass through. Wrinkles were one of the signs of sun damage seen along with rougher textured skin. The study found exposure to UVA rays accelerated the aging of the skin by five to seven years. This exposure increases your risk of skin cancer.

How do you protect yourself? Wear at least a 15 SPF sunscreen everyday year around. Install protective window film to the windows facing the sun of your office and home. Do you have shaded areas around your house for outdoor activities? If not install shade sails, awnings, or verandas with materials blocking out 94% as recommended. Trees and vine-covered pergolas can provide needed shade for outdoor activities as well as shade to windows in the house. Check out WebShade (www.webshade.com.au/) to do a shade audit for your property or to see how you can plan shade around your home.

Protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays by using sunscreen, installing protective window film, wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Long-sleeve clothing will also help. Don’t forget to buckle up to stay safe.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA

American Cancer Society, [2015]. What’s your sun safety IQ? Available at http://www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/quizzes/sun-safety/index
Greenwood, J. [2015]. Sun-safe homes. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/shade/sun-safe-homes

Skin Cancer Foundation, [2015]. Driving is linked to more skin cancers on the left side of the body. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/summer-2010-27-2/driving-linked

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Did you know that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes?  More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is  the most common form of cancer in the USA. This is unfortunate because skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Youth are particularly at risk of overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation since a large amount of the average person’s UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. Even one severe sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. As parents, you can give your children a legacy of sun safety by helping them develop good sun protections habits early in their lives.  Here are a few tips to help reduce sun damage this summer and throughout their life:

  • Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you and your family goes outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin.
  • Look for some “fun “colors such as blue, pink, red, etc. They look like skin paint which may be fun for kids to wear, and also you can see your kids in a crowd of other children. Many of these varieties are available online.
  • Be sure to reapply more sun screen if your children are playing in water or sweating.
  • Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.
  • Have children wear hats that have a brim to shade their eyes, sides of the faces and back of neck. Make sure they wear them when they are in the sun.
  • Also wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
  • Have children wear shirts with sleeves, especially to cover the upper back and shoulders, where the sun hits most directly.
  • Limit outdoor play time during the 10am-4pm when ultraviolet rays are the most intense. When outdoors during midday, help children find shady spots to play.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, MA, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County,powers-barker.1@osu.edu







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Got your Sun Screen on?  Hopefully, you are enjoying the nicer, sunny weather and protecting yourself from skin cancer.  Although it may not seem to be very intense, the sun can be the same intensity as it is in late August or September.

Most weather reports now give the Sun Intensity value which is from 0-10+ with 5-6 moderate, 7-9 high and 10+ very high.  Anything above a 4 means we should be taking some precautions. This is a reminder that we need to protect ourselves so that we prevent skin cancer in the future.

Most of us get too much sun because we don’t take precautions.  That’s why we are seeing so much skin cancer.  Did you know that it is estimated that 90% of the new cases of skin cancer each year are preventable if we would just practice skin safety measures?

Follow these few simple practices to make a difference.

v  Wear sunscreen.  Sunscreen protects the skin from burning as quickly.  Select a waterproof or water resistant sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or above.  Remember to apply it 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two to three hours or sooner if swimming or perspiring on a hot day.  Be sure to apply sunscreen on your children over the age of 6 months.  It is best to keep infants and young children out of the sun as much as possible.  Image

v  Also protect your lips with lip balm that contains sunscreen.   Some medications increase sun sensitivity so be careful if you are on medication.

v  If possible stay out of the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM when the Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the highest. Remember that even on cloudy days you can get sunburn so protect yourself.  Avoid sunlamps and tanning salons as these also damage the skin.  Just four visits to the tanning salon a year increase your risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 15% and melanoma by 11%.

v  Wear a broad brim hat.  A three-inch brim is recommended to provide the best protection.  Forget the baseball caps!  They do not provide protection for the ears and back of the neck.  A sun safe hat is dense enough to block UV rays from the sun.

v  Wear sunglasses that filter out the UV radiation.  They should provide 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.  Not all sunglasses do so check carefully.  UVA and UVB protection is clear and not determined by the color of the sunglasses.

v  Consider clothing choices.  Long sleeve shirts and pants provide additional protection but can be hot on warm days.  Looser styles and woven rather than knits are usually cooler to wear.  Light colors provide the least UV protection.  A wet white T-shirt is no protection against UV rays.  Darker colors provide a high UV protection but are hot to wear, so find a medium color, which will provide some protection with comfort.  Detergents with optical brighteners can increase the UV resistance of fabrics.  This can help provide some extra protection, but you still need to wear sunscreen.

Making some changes can help reduce your risk of skin cancer and damaged skin, which gives the wrinkled leathery look as you age.  You can enjoy the warmer, sunny weather and still protect yourself if you follow these precautions.

Writer:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, Family Nutrition Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension


Brinkman, P.  (2007). Sun Exposure:  Precautions and Protection” Ohio State University Extension, available at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5550.html

Sun Protection Guidelines, available at http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines

Sunscreen FAQs available at http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens/sunscreen-faqs#.UXAZxcruyIA

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