May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Academy of Dermatology certainly takes this honor seriously; they even designated the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday, after the most fatal type of skin cancer. UV rays actually damage your DNA, triggering mutations that multiply your skin cells far too rapidly and form malignant tumors called melanomas. 

Because the first signs of melanoma often resemble unnoticeable moles, regular screenings and exams are absolutely essential for skin cancer prevention. Skin cancer is a highly treatable and even curable disease, but not only if you detect your discolored pigments early enough to stop the spread. Schedule a full-body skin exam at least once a year, and perform one yourself every month

The Skin Cancer Foundation offers a few important sun safety guidelines, all of which reduce your UV exposure and prevent the sun damage that leads to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer:

  • Follow the "shadow rule": if your shadow is shorter than you, that means the sun’s UV radiation is at its most intense, and it’s best to seek a shadier area
  • Schedule outdoor activities before 10 AM or after 4 PM, when the sun isn’t as strong
  • Wear clothing and accessories with fabric that’s brightly colored and densely woven, such as broad-brimmed wicker hats and long but loose pants 
  • Never burn or tan; indoor tanning beds are particularly carcinogenic, but any more than five sunburns also raises your risk of developing skin cancer

Sunscreen, protective clothing and common sense are your best defenses against the dangers of ultra-violet rays. Skin cancer is an insidious disease that often goes undetected, and if you want to extend your lifespan and prevent painful procedures in the future, celebrate Skin Cancer Awareness Month by getting tougher on skin cancer.

Contact Desert Empire Insurance for more tips and information about protecting yourself this summer – and for the rest of your life – in Palm Desert, California.