Outrun The Sun

Posted By: Ann Richards · 4/25/2012 4:37:00 PM

Outrun The Sun is an event coming up that I think is so important … helpful … fun.

Did you know that, just one sunburn, can greatly increase a child’s risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers?

I think we all know someone who has had skin cancer. As a past sun worshipper, who spent a lot of hours with friends at the pool, at the beach, even in a lawn share sunbathing on my backyard patio, I’ve known several. I’m grateful and blessed to have never ended up with skin cancer.

This is probably information that you’ve heard or read before but it’s worth repeating. Melanoma, i.e. skin cancer, is the most common cancer in people ages twenty-five to twenty-nine. And, here’s a harsh fact … One American dies of melanoma, every hour. EVERY HOUR!

Here’s another harsh yet encouraging fact … Skin cancer is preventable!

And, please, don’t think that because you’ve made it past the twenty-ninth year that you’re invincible. Melanoma affects people of all ages and ethnicities. My dad was diagnosed with skin cancer at age forty. All of the friends I’ve known with the disease were diagnosed well after they were twenty-nine. Though, no doubt their cancers started much earlier.

And please, don’t think that it’s a disease that you only contract during the summer months. The one time that I got a really bad sunburn was while skiing in Vail, Colorado during the month of February. That wasn’t fun. What I didn’t think about then was that sand, water and snow reflect the sun’s harmful UV rays.

I want to go back to the good news. Skin cancer is preventable!

Whether we’re going out to mow the grass, play with the kids in the yard or go for a walk, or whenever we go outside we need to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. That’s number one on the list of preventions. Here are some more sun safety tips:

1. Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours (more often if you are swimming or sweating.)
2. Wear a hat to protect your scalp and head from UV rays.
3. Wear UV protective sunglasses to protect against ocular melanoma.
4. Wear sun protective clothing such as shirts with long sleeves and pants. A white T-shirt has an SPF value of only 5! Wear darker fabrics that are tightly woven to help block UV rays.
5. Remember to apply sunscreen on the tops of your ears, lips and hands.
6. Avoid tanning beds and their harmful ultraviolet rays.

Again, skin cancer is preventable!

May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month. And the folks at Outrun The Sun are going to be out and about all month reminding folks about what they can be doing to avoid this disease. Then, on June 2nd, they’ll be holding their annual Outrun The Sun Race Against Melanoma. Proceeds from the event benefit skin cancer education and melanoma research programs supported by Outrun The sun, Inc. There’s going to be live music, refreshments, even a kids zone all set up at beautiful Fort Harrison State Park. . It’s a great cause and a great event. I look forward to seeing you there. Oh, don’t forget the sunscreen.

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