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Skin cancer: Know the facts

Skin cancer: Know the facts
Skin cancer affects more Americans than any other malignancy. In fact, nearly one in five will develop it. But a new survey finds huge gaps in public knowledge about risk factors. The American Academy of Dermatology recently asked 1,000 U.S. adults basic questions about skin cancer, tanning, and sun protection. Among the troubling results:
  • 31% didn't know tanning causes skin cancer.
  • 53% weren't aware shade can protect you from the sun's harmful rays.
  • 47% falsely believed having a base tan prevents sunburns, or weren't sure.  

The myth of a healthy glow 

Tanned skin is not a sign of vitality. In fact, a bronze hue is the body's attempt to protect itself. Experts now know nearly all skin cancers result from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Many skin cancers are curable. However, melanoma-the deadliest type-is on the rise. Nearly 200,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. Most are linked to UV exposure.

Stay skin-safe all year round

The risks don't go away in fall and winter. Whatever the season, sunburn can still occur on cloudy days. Many people see tanning beds as a safe source of vitamin D in cooler months. An estimated 7.8 million adults use them. But in fact, artificial UV rays from beds and lambs may be even more harmful than natural ones. To prevent skin cancer, get vitamin D from foods like fatty fish, milk, and orange juice. Wear water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and broad-spectrum protection, even when it's cloudy. Prefer a tanned look? Use a self-tanning lotion, foam, or spray instead. 

Compassionate cancer care

At Touro's Cancer Care Center, our expert team is committed to providing you with the latest medical treatments along with the physical, emotional, and spiritual support you need. Learn more at

Dr. Jackson specializes in Dermatology. She attended Louisiana State University Medical School and completed her residency at Louisiana State University and is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology.