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Stay Sun-Safe this Summer
Release Date: June 23, 2015

Stay Sun-Safe this Summer

The Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition and NORWESCAP would like to remind residents that sun safety is very important during the summer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Warren County has the highest melanoma death rate in the state, 62% higher than the national average from 2007-2011, and Sussex County has the 5th highest mortality rate in the state.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, "Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors."

With warmer weather approaching and increased time spent outside, now is the perfect time to review steps to protect your skin from damage.

Skin Cancer Prevention - Action steps to stay sun-safe:

  1. Generously apply "broad spectrum" sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.
  2. Reapply at least every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
  3. Cover up and wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that have 99-100% UVA/UVB protection.
  4. Seek Shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  5. Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds - Having a "base tan" is not a safe tan. Both can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.

Staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing is the best way to limit your UV exposure. When this becomes impossible, the next line of defense is sunscreen. Before your purchase sunscreen, it is important to choose the proper product by reading the label before you purchase. Here is a short guide to help understand which sunscreen to buy:

  1. Sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. This is the level of protection the product provides against UVB rays.
  2. Check the expiration date and for best results, store in a cool place.
  3. Look for "broad spectrum" UVA/UVB protection. All sunscreen products protect against UVB rays (which are the main cause of sunburn). UVA rays contribute to skin cancer and aging.
  4. Water resistant does not mean water proof. If it makes the claim "water resistant" it must specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. For best protection, be sure to reapply at least every two hours and more often if swimming or sweating. Sunscreen rubs off when towel drying yourself.

For more information about protecting your skin from the sun, please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website, at www.skincancer.org external link, The Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition website, at http://www.sussex.nj.us/sussexwarrencoalition, or the NORWESCAP Cancer Education and Early Detection Program at 908-387-9888 or www.norwescap.org.

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