Protect your largest organ’your skin

Our skin is the largest organ in our body and plays a valuable role in our survival. It not only covers the internal organs and protects them from injury and bacteria, our skin regulates our body temperature and helps rid our body of excess water and salts. It also provides for pain, temperature, and touch sensation’all three of which are clearly present after we experience sunburn. As the summer months draw near, the American Cancer Society is encouraging us to remember the importance of our skin and to protect it from the sun’s damaging rays. “Most of the 1.3 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed yearly in the US are considered to be sun-related. Those most at risk for skin cancer are people with light skin, fair hair, light color eyes and those who burn easily However, darker-skinned people can also develop skin cancer, including malignant melanoma, the deadliest form,” said Dr. Ramsdell, MD, spokesperson for the American Cancer Society in Texas. To reduce your risk for skin cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends avoiding midday sun between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest. When outside, protect your skin by wearing protective clothing and a hat. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a skin protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and wear wrap-around sunglasses that will block both UVA and UVB type rays. It is also important for parents to promote sun safety with their children and set a good example for children to follow. When children learn early on how to protect their skin and eyes from the sun they are more likely to develop lifelong sun protection behavior. For more information on UV exposure, skin cancer and ways to protect yourself and your family, visit the American Cancer Society’s web site at Select “Melanoma” from the Cancer Resource Center’s drop down menu on the left and then select skin cancer prevention. For those without internet access, the American Cancer Society is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their toll-free information hotline at 1-800-ACS-2345. Cancer Information Specialists are trained to provide the latest information related to skin cancer prevention as well as all forms of cancer. The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

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