As I write this column on this cold January morning, I am making preparations to head to Cape Canaveral Hospital to have more basal skin cancer removed and reconstructive surgery performed on my face. Not fun.
In the United States, one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. The only defense that we have to control this disease is prevention. We are all human, and therefore we tend to think that serious health issues will not happen to us and we do not heed the warnings that the medical profession and the media give us. Until something rather tragic happens to us, or someone we know personally, we tend to have a lackadaisical approach. For example, you might not wear safety glasses while mowing the lawn until someone has an eye put out from flying debris.
Well, I am someone you all know, and I am here to tell you….. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ….take care of your skin. We as Florida runners have an abundant amount of sun exposure and are therefore perfect candidates for damage. Unfortunately, as adults, our damage may have already begun when we were teenagers and “brown was beautiful”. What we need to do is limit the additional damage we may be doing now.
In addition, think about your children and grandchildren and make sure they are diligently caring for their skin. This is anytime they are out in the sun – especially during extended visits to the beach and during sport activities. Tanning beds are not safe alternatives. You could be helping them stop the early onset of skin cancer.
In the summer months, in order to stay cool while out on the road, we tend to wear a minimal amount of clothing, and therefore increase the area of exposure. If you are going to be out there for over an hour, consider wearing very lightweight, moisture wicking coverings. Of course, it goes without saying to wear a good sweat proof sunscreen and a hat. By the way, check the expiration date on the sunscreen and discard last years bottle and replace it for maximum effectiveness
Regrettably, long term sun damage is not readily apparent. Every burn is cumulative.
YOUR preventative actions are the key.
For a very informative article on skin cancer and prevention, please visit the following link from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/
About the Author
Carol Ball is the President of Space Coast Runners. This article presented courtesy of Space Coast Runners. It originally appeared in their February, 2009 newsletter.
|Copyright 2009 by Florida East Coast Runners and Carol Ball. Reproduction or reprinting without written permission is illegal