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New study shows most people not concerned about skin cancer, even if at risk


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A survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has found that 61% of respondents are not concerned about developing skin cancer, even though 67% of respondents have characteristics that put them at risk.


“I'm very surprised to see that so many people are not concerned about developing skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime,” said board-certified dermatologist Terrence A Cronin Jr, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, and you increase that risk if you do not protect yourself from the sun when you are outside."


Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun or indoor tanning is the most preventable cause of skin cancer. While skin cancer develops in people of all ages, genders, races, and nationalities, there are characteristics that can increase your risk. These risk factors include skin that burns easily; blonde or red hair; a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns; tanning bed use; a weakened immune system; and a history of skin cancer.


While most of the survey respondents are not concerned about skin cancer, many are concerned about sunburn and premature ageing. In fact, 48% say they are more worried about avoiding sunburn than they are about preventing skin cancer. Additionally, 29% are more worried about avoiding premature wrinkles than they are about preventing skin cancer.


“While it's great to see that people are concerned about sunburn and premature ageing, they should be more concerned about skin cancer as it can disfigure you and even cause death if it's not diagnosed early when it's most treatable,” said Dr Cronin. “By using sun protection when you are going to be outside, you can reduce your risk of all three: skin cancer, sunburn, and premature aging.”


To protect yourself from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer, the AAD recommends that everyone do the following:


Seek shade. The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.


Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. For more effective protection, choose clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.


Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Source: prnewswire.com

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