May 5, 2015

Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it-Baz Luhrmann “Everbody’s Fee (to wear Sunscreen)”

Eight years ago, we said goodbye to my Mom. It was a long, hard battle against a real bitch of a cancer, melanoma. Twenty five people will pass away from melanoma today. In 2007, my Mom was one of those 25. Two hundred people will receive a diagnosis of melanoma today and 86% of those diagnosed will have melanoma due to their sun exposure.

Grief changes as it ages and with the help of a great therapist, I’ve been able to find not only a good place for my grief, but have also been able to battle the anxiety it causes for me. When my Mom was young, they had no idea that their sun exposure could raise such a demon.

But, now you know.

Regular sunscreen use decreases your risk of melanoma by 50%.  Preventing your children from having more than five sunburns in their youth will vastly decrease their risk of developing melanoma later in life (people who were sunburned more than five times in their youth have an 80% chance of developing melanoma).

And, those tanning beds count, too.  Their risk factor has been reclassified by the FDA as being “high risk” and is considered as risky for your health as smoking cigarettes.

We don’t celebrate bronzed skin in my house.  We celebrate no tan lines and no angry red shoulders and a future that it, hopefully, melanoma free.  Buy sunscreen.  Wear sunscreen.   Insist your children and loved ones wear sunscreen.  Offer sunscreen to people who don’t seem to have any.  Carry a bottle of sunscreen with you (but don’t leave it in your car!  It degrades in the heat!) and reapply it frequently, particularly when swimming. Be smart about your sun exposure and live a long, melanoma free life.


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