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MENTOR, Ohio – April 30, 2021 – In recognition of May as Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Avery Dennison encourages its employees, dealers, customers, friends, and communities to become more aware of the dangers of skin cancer, its causes, and ways to prevent it. Skin Cancer Awareness Month is an initiative of the nonprofit Skin Cancer Foundation, which for more than 40 years has been helping people understand the importance of skin cancer prevention, early detection and prompt, effective treatment.
With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is America’s most common cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation website.* More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms.
As a primer, it is important to understand the two types of ultraviolet (UV) sun rays that reach the earth's surface: UVA and UVB.
UVA rays have longer wavelengths. They penetrate deeper into the skin and damage the fibers called elastin. It is because of these rays that your skin loses its elasticity, sags, stretches, bruises more easily, and ages prematurely.
UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns. They damage the DNA in your skin's cells. To help with the healing process your body floods the damaged area with blood, resulting in the red skin and painful inflammation. Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma, the most-deadly form of skin cancer.
All about prevention
“Ultraviolet radiation from the sun isn’t just dangerous, it’s also sneaky,” the Foundation advises on its website. “It reaches you even when you’re trying to avoid it – penetrating clouds and glass, and bouncing off snow, water and sand. What’s more, sun damage accumulates over the years, from prolonged outdoor exposure to simple activities like walking the dog, going from your car to the store, and bringing in the mail.”
That’s why preventing skin cancer by protecting yourself completely requires a comprehensive approach. Here are the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations from its website:
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If you are outside, cover up with sun-protective clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Don’t get sunburned.
Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
Liberally apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher over your entire body. Reapply every two hours after swimming or excessive sweating.
Keep infants out of the sun for the first six months rather than using sunscreen on their sensitive skin. Clothing should cover babies’ vulnerable arms and legs, and don’t forget to use hats, sunglasses, and stroller shades.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
See a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam.