Dress to burn less

Learn the facts about skin cancer. It might save your life.

posted June 30, 2017

Skin cancer rates by state

An estimated 3.5 million people are diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancer each year in the U.S. Oregonians have relatively high skin cancer rates.

Don’t let our cloudy skies and wet weather fool you. Oregon ranks in the top third for skin cancer rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even during the rainy months, Oregonians should be attentive when it comes to prevention and detection.

Working in the sun? Play our sun safety game to find out if you’re dressed correctly.

Here’s what you can do:

Work sun-safe

  • Schedule outside work during early morning and late afternoon hours.
  • Seek shade or engineer sun-blocking covers.
  • Wear sun-smart clothing.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and sun-protective lip balm.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim (at least 3 inches all the way around) or neck flaps.
  • Wear UV protective and polarized sunglasses.

Melanoma is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma rates have risen for at least 30 years.Slather it on

  • Dermatologists recommend an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s rays.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Let it dry before contact with clothing.
  • Generously coat skin. The general guideline is 1 ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) per exposed area (arm/leg/back/chest). A nickel-sized dollop is typically adequate for the face.
  • Reapply every two hours, or more if the skin becomes wet.

Cover up

  • Early detection makes all the difference. The five-year survival rate is 98% for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes.Some fabrics contain a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) value, which indicates how effective the clothing is in blocking UV radiation from the sun.
  • Dark, heavy, and dyed fabrics with tighter knits block out more UV than lighter, sheer fabrics.
  • Wet fabric can lose up to 50 percent of its UV blockage.

Do regular skin checks

Have you noticed a spot or mole that causes questions or concern? Check out tips from the American Academy of Dermatology on identifying warning signs. Then contact your medical provider or dermatologist for a screening.More skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year than all other cancers combined. [Source: American Cancer Society]

To learn more about sun protection, visit our safety and health site.


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