Skin cancer information

Sunshine can be extremely beneficial to your health, and what better place to find sunshine than in Arizona, with over 300 sunny days of per year? 

The sun can provide relief from aching joints, acne and psoriasis.  It's also a great source of Vitamin D.

However, experts agree the extreme dangers from too much sun outweigh the benefits. 

Arizona has the highest rate of skin cancer in the United States, and one of the highest rates in the world! 

One in 500,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every single year.  In fact, skin cancer causes more deaths than tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves and winter storms combined.  Every single year, 6,500 to 7,500 people will die from skin cancer.

The good news is, 95 percent of skin cancer patients are free of the disease once it is treated.  The key to a 100 percent success rate would occur if everyone with symptoms sought medical attention right away.

Wearing a minimum sun block of SPF 15 for protection in the sun will keep you safe.  Make sure you're wearing this all year long, not just during our hot summer months. The higher the SPF, the longer you can go without reapplying.

In Arizona, you're at the greatest risk for sunburn between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

If you're outside and it's one of those rare cloudy days, don't think you're safe from the sun!  Up to 80% of the ultra violet rays that burn you will get through those clouds.

There is a simple "ABCD" guideline commonly used to make you aware of the warning signs of cancer.

A is for Asymmetry - Is one half of a mole is different than the other?

B is for Border irregularity - Does the mole have poorly defined edges?

C is for Color variations - Are there inconsistent colors on the mole?

D is for Diameter - Is it larger than a pencil eraser?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you should see your doctor.

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a healthy suntan.  It may look good now, but spending too much time in the sun without protection can age your skin prematurely.  You may not see the damage to your skin right away, but may develop skin cancer years from now.

Although many risk factors can be avoided, it is important to keep in mind that avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that you won't get cancer.

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