Sun Protection Tips for Father's Day Activities

Today being Father's Day, many people have many outdoor activities planned, such as firing up the grill or going fishing. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) physicians and nurses are encouraging people when they are outside, whether they are spending a day at the lake or in their yard, to be aware of the dangers of overexposure to the sun and to practice sun safety. Prevention and early detection are critical to reducing the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma.

"Warm weather is a great motivator for people to get outside and reap the health benefits of being more active," said Stephen Hodi, MD, clinical director of the Melanoma Program at Dana-Farber. "At the same time, it is important that people protect themselves from the sun and make themselves aware of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and melanoma to greatly reduce their risk of developing these preventable but dangerous diseases."

To stay sun safe, DFCI says people should remember to think about:

  • Applying a sun block with a rating of SPF 15 or higher;
  • Reapplying sun block every two hours, and immediately after swimming or heavy perspiration;
  • Providing additional protection by wearing a broad rimmed hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and pants; and,
  • Avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Because sunscreen contains ingredients that lose potency over time, bottles that have been sitting on the shelf for more than a year may not provide adequate protection, DFCI says.

"People need to remember to look at the expiration date on their bottle of sun block," Hodi said. "In general, we recommend that you change your bottle of sun block yearly."

According to the American Cancer Society, more than an estimated one million Americans will be diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell cancers this year, and more than 60,000 will be diagnosed with the most serious form of skin cancer--melanoma. More than 8,400 deaths in the United States this year will be due to a form of skin cancer.

For more information about skin cancer, go to the Dana-Farber Web site at www.dana-farber.org/skin-cancer.

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