New York, NY (January 27, 2009) - According to a new study by researchers at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the vast majority of mutations found in melanoma are caused by ultraviolet radiation. The three most common forms of skin cancer have been linked to UV radiation from the sun and/or tanning beds. This underscores the fact that the incidence of skin cancer can be dramatically reduced through education, behavior modification, and early detection.
"Skin cancer is primarily a lifestyle disease and, today, it's easier than ever to incorporate sun protection into your daily routine," said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Practicing sun protection should be part of a healthy lifestyle - just like eating right and exercising."
From the daily commute to work to a winter beach getaway, sun protection is always needed. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the following ways to incorporate sun protection into your daily life.
PROBLEM: Almost 100 percent of UVA rays can penetrate glass and as much as 80 percent can pass through clouds, so if your desk is near a window, you need to be vigilant, even when at work.
SOLUTION: Wear a broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher sunscreen daily that includes one or more of these UVA-protective ingredients - avobenzone, oxybenzone, mexoryl, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and be sure to reapply before heading outside at lunch. New powders and foundations make it convenient and easy to reapply. Window film, which can be used on home, office or car windows, blocks almost 100 percent of UV radiation and provides another level of defense again UVA rays.
PROBLEM: Most people think they need UV exposure to obtain vitamin D.
SOLUTION: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you obtain 1000 IU of vitamin D a day through the combination of food and supplements. Consult with your physician before taking supplements.
PROBLEM: Intermittent, intense sun exposure, the type people receive on beach vacations, has been linked to basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
SOLUTION: Practice a combination of sun safety methods while on vacation: seek shade between 10 AM and 4 PM; use a broad-spectrum SPF of 15 or higher and be sure to reapply every two hours; wear sun-protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
PROBLEM: There is no such thing as a safe tan. A tan is a biological signal by the skin that DNA damage has occurred. Frequent tanners using new high pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual dose of UVA compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure.
SOLUTION: Avoid UV tanning and tanning beds. For those who desire some color, opt for spray tans, self tanners or glow products used in conjunction with an SPF 15 or higher.
PROBLEM: The eyelid region is one of the most common sites for nonmelanoma skin cancers.
SOLUTION: Keep skin protected with an SPF product specially formulated for the delicate area around the eyes and wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are one of the best defenses against eye and eyelid damage. Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
PROBLEM: Ninety percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by UV radiation.
SOLUTION: Go with your own glow and embrace your natural skin tone. Tanning as a lifestyle is over. To add some color to the face, apply blushes, highlighters or bronzers with an SPF 15 or higher to the apples of the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose and chin.
PROBLEM: A typical white summer cotton T-shirt offers an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of only 5 to 9.
SOLUTION: In general, tightly woven, dark-or bright-colored fabrics provide better sun protection. In addition, specially formulated high-UPF clothing is especially well suited for exercise. These clothes are lightweight and are treated with UV-absorbing chemicals, such as titanium dioxide.
PROBLEM: Sun damage can't be completely repaired.
SOLUTION: In addition to helping protecting against sunburn, premature aging and skin cancer, daily use of sunscreen can reduce the number of new actinic keratoses (AKs or precancers) and may even help existing AKs disappear, reducing the number of future skin cancers.