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Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer incidences combined. Stop thinking melanoma and skin cancer only happens to other people and that if you get it, it is trivial to remove. Remember to wear sunscreen daily and to reapply every 2 hours or so.
If you need help applying sunscreen to your back and to other hard to reach areas, use the SunBuddy Lotion Applicator. It's compact, foldable, discrete, and can mean the difference between healthy and cancerous skin.
Myth: It's just a small melanoma mole. Just cut it off and I’ll be fine.
Reality: This may be true for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers that begin on the surface of the skin, but no so for melanoma. Melanoma occurs deep in the skin and can spread via the blood stream to major vital organs. Once the melanoma mole is removed, you may be still at fatal risk and may need advanced treatment.
Myth: If I get a small melanoma mole and have it removed, my skin will heal really fast.
Reality: Inches of skin around the melanoma site may need to be removed, often times leaving a long scar several inches long. Melanoma can deeply penetrate your skin, requiring the doctor to cut down all the way to the bone and leaving a concave hole that is visible even after the area has healed.
Myth: Only older people get skin cancer.
Reality: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer if the course of a lifetime. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old.
Myth: Skin cancer usually appears on your back and shoulders.
Reality: This is true for men, but the most common site for melanoma for women is on the lower legs. Another common area for skin cancers is the face and hands, where the skin is thin.
Myth: A "base tan" protected your skin.
Reality: There is little evidence that this is true. Any tan at all is a sign of skin damage and there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Myth: I need some sun or I'll be Vitamin D deficient.
Reality: While it is true that the sun synthesizes Vitamin D in our skin, too much sun exposure can break it down. Rather than taking the risk and soaking up direct sunlight without sunscreen, doctors recommend 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily and recommend consuming foods high in D, such as salmon, eggs, and fortified milk or taking a D supplement.
Myth: SPF 100 offers twice the protection of SPF 50.
Reality: The FDA is promoting the SPF cap to be 50. SPF 50 blocks 97 percent of UVA radiation, and there is little to no data that proves an SPF over 50 is more effective.
Myth: It's a cloudy or overcast day, so I’m not at risk.
Reality: This is not so. Although the UVB rays that make you feel hot and burning may be minimized, UVA rays are still full force no matter the weather. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Myth: Awareness has gone up and people aren’t getting skin cancer.
Reality: Melanoma has been on the rise in recent years and so has the use of tanning booths. One American dies of melanoma every hour and younger and younger people are developing skin cancer. In fact, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in 15-29 year olds and the most common form in 25-29 year olds.
Myth: People with darker skin do not get skin cancer.
Reality: It is true that darker skinned people face a lower risk of skin cancer. However, they are more likely to die from it. Since darker skinned people do not easily burn, they have a false sense of security and often overlook early warning signs of skin cancer.