Did you know flip-flips and baseball caps could pose a hidden health risk when it comes to skin cancer? That’s the word from Dr. Anthony Peterson, from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He says most skin cancers occur on the parts of the body that are repeatedly exposed to the sun. The problem with flip-flops and baseball caps is that they leave the tips of the ears and the tops of the feet dangerously exposed to sun damage. The potential for skin cancers in those areas are real, especially on the tips of the ears.
More than 1 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are found in this country each year, according to the Cancer Society. Most of those cases are considered to be sun-related. They develop on sun-exposed areas of the body, like the face, ear, neck, lips, and the backs of the hands. Depending on the type, they can be fast- or slow-growing, but they rarely spread to other parts of the body.
Doctors say melanoma is almost always curable when it is detected in its early stages. Although melanoma accounts for only a small percentage of skin cancer, it is far more dangerous than other skin cancers, and it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.
You can prevent all forms of skin cancer, including melanoma, by avoiding overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Here are some tips from medical experts:
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of least 15 daily. Wearing sunscreen in the early fall is just as important, too.
• Wear protective clothing outdoors, including a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants.
• Stay out of the sun during the midday hours (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).
• Use a higher SPF when at higher elevations.
• Avoid sunbathing and tanning salons. UV rays from artificial sources such as tanning beds and sunlamps are just as dangerous as those from the sun.
• Set a good example for your children by always using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.