The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”
— EDWIN WAY TEALE
May is consistently ranked as Americans’ favorite month and at The Skin Cancer Foundation, we’re pretty big fans, too. The flowers are blooming, the temperatures are rising and, as naturalist Edwin Way Teale perfectly stated, all things truly do seem possible. It’s fitting that this month is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a time when we join the medical community, beauty industries and the media to educate people about the prevention, early detection and prompt treatment of skin cancer. It’s a big job: The reach of this disease is immense, with more than 3 million people diagnosed each year in the United States alone. And while taking on the world’s most common cancer may seem like an impossible feat, we’re up for the challenge — but we need your help.
Skin cancer is mainly a lifestyle disease, which means that it can be prevented with some behavior changes. Adopting a complete sun protection strategy can drastically reduce skin cancer risk. Unfortunately, we know that many young people think they are invincible and that they don’t need to worry about sun protection. For them, the desire to look tan often trumps the concern of developing skin cancer. On the opposite end of the spectrum, many seniors discount the need for a daily sun protection strategy, reasoning that the “damage has already been done.”
But here’s the thing: Sun damage is cumulative. Whether you’re 16 or 60, without sun protection, you’re leaving your skin exposed to the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. That’s why The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that all people, regardless of age, practice sun-safe behaviors. This month, we hope you’ll join us in reminding your loved ones that it’s never too early or too late to embrace a sun-safe lifestyle.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll share sun protection tips for every age. We’ll also feature the emotional journeys of several individuals who have been diagnosed with skin cancer. Their experiences are powerful reminders of the reach of this disease, not only shaping the lives of the patients but also of their loved ones.
If you are a skin cancer warrior, we encourage you to share your story, too. Your social networks are a great place to start. (Please include #MySkincancerJourney so we can follow along and be inspired by you.) If you’d like to share your story with a larger audience, complete the True Stories form on our website. Throughout the year, we feature some of these experiences on our blog, social media channels and even in interviews with media outlets.
We look forward to hearing your stories as we work together to fight skin cancer!