WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Linda Medina from Holyoke was enjoying the nice afternoon at Hampton Ponds in Westfield. She said she takes steps to protect herself from the sun, but she forgot one important thing.
“I wear a hat, I put lip stuff on, and I don’t have any sun block, I forgot to get some this year,” she told 22News.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it’s the most common cancer in the United States. One in five Americans is expected to get skin cancer before they turn 70.
Doctor Zubeena Mateen is the Medical Director of Hematology and Oncology at Holyoke Medical Center. She said the key to protecting yourself from skin cancer is prevention, like sunscreen.
“Broad spectrum sunscreen should cover UVA as well as UVB and anything between 15 and 30 will be fine,” she said. “You don’t have to go after the more expensive sunscreens like 50 or 70.”
Without sunscreen you can get a burn just after 15 minutes. However, with sunscreen should can be protected up to two hours, but you should reapply more regularly if you’re in the water.
You should also check your body from head to toe regularly, because skin cancer can show up as innocent as a red mark.
“Anything with irregular borders, anything that looks darker than usual, but any change should not be acceptable,” Dr. Mateen said.
If you spot any of those sings, you should talk to your doctor.