Five Easy Tips to Help Prevent Skin Cancer: Saving Skin from the Endless Summer Sun

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WellSpring Oncology's Board Certified Radiation Oncologists offer tips to enjoy safe sun.

“Skin cancer is affecting younger and younger people,” explains Dr. Robert Miller, Board Certified Radiation Oncologist at WellSpring Oncology.

Florida is the state of the endless summer sun. But that also puts residents at a higher risk of sunburns and much more. This May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and with an estimated 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year, Board Certified Radiation Oncologists at the Pinellas cancer treatment center, WellSpring Oncology, are spreading the message of prevention and awareness.

“Skin cancer is affecting younger and younger people,” explains Robert Miller, M.D., Board Certified Radiation Oncologist at WellSpring Oncology. “Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for people ages 25-29. This is a disease you have to prevent from day one. Just one blistering sunburn in youth more than doubles your risk of melanoma.”

But Dr. Miller isn't suggesting skipping the beach entirely, just to be more prepared when heading out with these five tips.

1. Check the Clock: The summer sun gives off the most UV rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dr. Miller suggests finding shade or staying indoors during these hours.

“You don't have to be laying out to get a sunburn, even walking to and from your car can expose your skin to UV rays,” Dr. Miller explains.

2. Block the Burn: No matter what time of day it is – remember to block the burn with sunscreen.

“We tell our patients at WellSpring Oncology to use SPF 30 for any outdoor activity. This will keep out about 97 percent of the sun's UVA and UVB rays and give you a safe way of enjoying the warm weather,” Dr. Miller says.

Sunscreen should be applied one-half hour before going outside, giving the skin time to absorb it. Because sunscreen tends to be broken down over time by the sun, and rubbed or washed off with sweating and water exposure, it should be reapplied at least every two hours outdoors, and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating. At least one ounce (two tablespoons) is needed to cover the entire body surface.

3. Top off Your Look: Hats aren't just for fashion, according to Dr. Miller. Wide-brim hats provide protection for the ears, nose, shoulders and scalp from sunburns.

“Shielding your eyes from the sun is also crucial to preventing any UV damage. So don't forget the sunglasses!” Dr. Miller warns.

4. No Tanning Beds: “Many used to think tanning beds were the safe way to get that summer glow,” says Dr. Miller. “But now we know there is no safe tan.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation warns indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. As a safe alternative, Dr. Miller suggests opting for spray-on tan instead.

5. Check the Mirror: “It's important to know your own risk factors,” explains Dr. Miller.

That includes fair skin, family history and prior blistering sunburns. WellSpring Oncology encourages self-exams by canvasing the skin and looking for atypical moles or freckles and documenting any changes.

“The faster we catch the cancer, the more likely we'll be able to eradicate it completely,” Dr. Miller says.

The good news is advances in radiation therapy have revolutionized treatment of skin cancer.

“Our team uses a High Dose Rate (HDR) technology that cuts sessions down to just six weeks,” Dr. Miller explains. “Unlike traditional options, like Mohs surgery, radiation therapy leaves little to no scarring and offers a reduced recovery time.”

“We want our patients to enjoy a healthy life,” explains Dr. Miller. “By following these five simple steps, you can still safely enjoy the outdoors year-round!”

For more information about WellSpring Oncology, visit http://www.WellSpringOncology.org.

About WellSpring Oncology:
Doctors Robert Miller, Zucel Solc and Frank Franzese opened the doors of WellSpring Oncology in the spring of 2008 to provide high-end treatment in a more personal and caring environment. The doctors at WellSpring Oncology have been practicing innovative radiation therapy since the 1970’s and developed the center to ensure patients have access to the latest technology available in the treatment of cancer. WellSpring Oncology’s physicians are all Board Certified in radiation oncology and received their training at the top centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California, San Francisco. WellSpring Oncology is located at 6600 Sixty Sixth Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida.

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