What Is The Best Way To Prevent Melanoma?

The most important way to prevent melanoma is avoiding excessive sun exposure. Prevention must begin in childhood, because most people get about 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18.

Keep these facts about sun exposure in mind:

  • Regular, day-to-day exposure is usually experienced by outdoor workers and individuals who spend lots of time in outdoor activities over the course of many years.
  • Rare periods of intense exposure are often experienced by people who stay indoors most of the time and then sun themselves daily for a week or so while on vacation.

How-To Information:

Practical prevention measures can help reduce the chances of developing skin cancer.

  • Avoid sunburns. Scientists think that even one severe, blistering sunburn in childhood can increase the risk of melanoma. Sunburns in adults also are dangerous.
  • Stay out of the direct sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the strongest UV rays reach the earth’s surface.
  • Avoid both direct and reflected sunlight. Sunlight reflected from water, sand, and snow can be just as damaging to the skin as direct sunlight.
  • Shield the skin with clothing. Long-sleeved garments made from light, tightly woven fabric can protect the skin in summer and yet be cool and comfortable. Use a hat with a broad brim to shade the face.
  • Use sunscreen. Pick a sunscreen that provides “broad spectrum” protection against both UVA and UVB rays in sunlight.

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