House Call: Sun safety
Ultraviolet (UV) rays and sun exposure can cause cumulative skin damage over time, and it is also linked to skin cancer. Therefore, it is never too early to start protecting your skin from sun damage and preventing skin cancer.
This is why Cone Health Cancer Center educates children throughout the community about sun safety through the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ program. This program teaches children to ‘slip’ on a dark colored shirt, as UV rays can penetrate light-colored or white shirts, ‘slop’ on some sunscreen, and ‘slap’ on a wide-brimmed hat before going out in the sun.
Key guidelines to remember when applying sunscreen on your children, as well as yourself, are to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of thirty or higher, apply generously thirty minutes before going outside, and continue to re-apply throughout the day.
New FDA regulations require sunscreen bottles to claim ‘water resistant’ rather than ‘waterproof,’ as no sunscreens are fully waterproof. The new bottles also inform people how often to re-apply the sunscreen.
It’s important to choose broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. With one in five Americans developing some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, and 3.5 million cases of skin cancer being diagnosed in the U.S. each year, it is extremely clear why sun safety is of upmost importance.
Cone Health Cancer Center understands the importance of early detection and treatment of cancer, and offers free cancer screenings to the community on a regular basis. Coming up on Monday, June 24th from 5:30-7 pm at Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville, Cone Health is offering a free skin cancer screening.
Christine Brannock is the oncology outreach manager at Cone Health Cancer Center. Christine earned a Bachelor of Science in public health education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2001, and an associate degree in nursing at Guilford Technical Community College in 2004. She has been an employee at Cone Health for thirteen years.