July is UV Safety Month and a good reminder to take care of your skin and protect yourself from ultraviolet rays that can increase your chances of skin cancer. Here in Alaska, we’re fortunate to live in the land of the midnight sun; more daylight means more sunshine and for many people, more time outdoors enjoying it. But Alaskans are at just as much of a risk at developing skin cancer, the most common cancer in the U.S. Brush up on our UV safety tips to keep you and your family safe this summer.
- Wear sunscreen (duh!) but choose it carefully! Many sunscreens can have chemicals that are dangerous for both you and the environment. Take a few minutes to do a little research and pick the sunscreen that’s right for you.
- Think outside the box. It’s obvious that you need to apply sunscreen when you’re lying on the beach but what about when you’re just out for a hike? It’s still very important to wear sunscreen, especially when you consider that higher altitudes can increase your exposure.
- Know the UV index for the day. Different levels of UV rays change the risk. The more you know, the safer you can plan.
While these tips are important for everyone to follow, those receiving radiation treatment need to be extra careful in the sun. Skin in an area receiving radiation therapy may already be red or burned from treatments so be extra cautious. Schedule your sun time when the UV index is lower, either early or late in the day. Wear a hat and clothes that cover most of your body and choose your sunscreen carefully. As always, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your concerns or to ask for recommendations.