Stay safe in the sun.  Be sure to cover up, apply sunscreen often and protect your eyes with sunglasses.  Did you know more than 1 million cases of basal cell or squamous cell cancers occur annually?  Most, but not all, are highly curable.  

The most serious form is melanoma, which is expected to reach over 60,000 persons this year, of which 1,200 will be from Oregon.  

Limit sun exposure during the midday hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.).  

Wear a hat that shades the face, neck and ears, and a long sleeved shirt and long pants.  Wear sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes.  Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.  Children, in particular, should be protected, as severe sunburns increase the risk of melanoma later in life.  Avoid tanning beds, which provide an additional source of UV radiation.  

Any changes in skin growths need to be examined by your doctor.  Remember the ABCD rule.  A is for asymmetry (1/2 of the mole doesn’t match the other half).  B is for border edges that are ragged, notched or blurred.  C is for color (pigmentation is not uniform, with variable degrees of tan, brown or black).  D is for diameter greater that the size of a pencil eraser.  Check yourself, your children, and your spouse regularly and consult your doctor if you have any questions.  Our skin is the largest body organ.  We need to respect and protect it.

Hats on to us all.

MARY HENSAL • Stanfield

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