July is UV Safety Awareness Month

The purpose of UV Safety Awareness Month is to spread awareness of the detrimental effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays are an invisible form of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. 

Protection against UV rays is essential year-round, as UV rays can pierce through clouds, and reflect off of various surfaces, including water, cement, sand and snow. UV rays are measured on a scale of 1-11+ by the UV Index, and its radiation levels are typically strongest from 10am to 4pm.

At ForCare Medical Center, it is our goal to encourage our patients to protect themselves from the sun during these hours and beyond every day in Florida.

Skin Cancer Statistics

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, and its number one cause is prolonged exposure to UV rays. Some alarming facts about skin cancer are:

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the United States every hour
  • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States than all other cancers combined

Tips to Enjoy the Summer Safely

Wear Sunscreen Every Day: Wearing sunscreen year-round is essential to maintaining healthy skin and protecting against sunburn and damage caused by harmful UV rays. Sunscreen is the best way to prevent premature wrinkles and aging, and it is highly beneficial to your skin even on cool and cloudy days.

ForCare Medical Center advises our patients to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 containing zinc oxide 4%. Sunscreen is most effective when applied to skin 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure.

Limit Your Time Exposed to UV Rays: Avoid the sun between the hours of 10am – 4pm, when UV rays emit the maximum amount of radiation. Find shade when you can if you are out in the sun during these hours.

Do not use tanning beds, as these beds emit both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are associated with skin aging, while UVB rays are linked to skin burning. There are numerous safer alternatives to tanning beds, such as spray tans and topical sunless tanning lotions.

Wear Protection: The best way to prevent skin damage from UV rays is to cover any exposed skin with dark clothing. Since wearing long-sleeves in the hot summer can be uncomfortable, the CDC recommends wearing a hat with a brim all the way around your face, ears, and back of your neck.  In addition to wearing a hat, sunglasses provide further protection for your eyes against UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts.

New Superficial Electron Therapy to Treat Skin Cancer

As skin cancer affects millions of people worldwide, there are always new and breakthrough methods to treat it. Mohs surgery is a well-researched and efficient treatment for skin cancer, yet superficial electron therapy has recently emerged as an appealing non-invasive alternative.

With treatment typically completed between 4.5-6 weeks, and each session lasting less than 5 minutes, superficial electron therapy works to eradicate cancerous cells without cutting any incisions into the skin. The electron beam system used at ForCare Medical Center delivers a series of small electron beam treatments to the cancer site, which eliminates cancer cells, but protects the healthy tissue surrounding it.

Though multiple factors determine how successful treatment will be, most published studies report cure rates ranging from 90% to 98% when using this method.

Contact ForCare Medical Center

ForCare Medical Center’s priority is to educate our patients on how to best care for their skin through prevention methods and treatments for all types of skin conditions.To make a dermatology appointment at ForCare, or to learn more about superficial electron therapy, call (813) 773-2456 or click here.