Sun Protection Should Be a Year-Round Concern
Summertime is about over, but the need for skin protection should be a year-round concern.
One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life. Incidental sun exposure over a period of time, however, poses just as much of a risk for skin cancer.
"It's not just the sunburns that usually occur during the summer or on vacation that are associated with skin cancer," said Perry Robins, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. "All of your lifetime sun exposure adds to your risk of skin cancer."
While lower temperatures may lead people to believe they are at lower risk for skin cancer, the sun is always an issue, according to Dr. Dianna Henshaw, a Kinston Dermatology clinic administrator.
"Of course, sun exposure still poses a risk during the fall -- sun is sun," Henshaw said.
Incidental sun exposure is the kind of exposure that people outside are barely aware of -- it accumulates over the years from relatively brief everyday activities. The Skin Cancer Foundation gives examples of incidental exposure as when you're walking your dog, waiting for the bus or walking to and from the car. Everyday incidental exposure adds up and seriously damages the skin over time.
Incidental sun exposure is linked to squamous cell carcinoma, the second-most common skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.