What is Skin Cancer
Your skin is a living organ that has the ability to generate new cells to replace dead and damaged cells. Sometimes too many new cells are created or too few damaged cells die. The resulting "extra" cells form into a mass, or tumor.
The Sun's Influence
Long-term exposure to the sun and specifically the DNA cell damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation is believed to be a strong contributing factor in the formation of the most common skin cancers.
Who's At Risk
Skin cancer is most often found in people over 50. Generally, light skin tones are more at risk than darker tones, blonds and redheads more than brunettes, Southern U.S. regions more than Northern and high altitudes more than lowlands. All that said, no one is immune.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends protection from the sun and any source of UV radiation from an early age. Along with proper clothing and sunglasses, protection should include the regular use of a broad spectrum (blocks UVA and UVB) sunscreen with an sun-protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
While the National Cancer Institute concedes that there is not enough scientific evidence yet to prove that sunscreen effectively reduces skin-cancer rates, they join the AAD and the American Melanoma Foundation in strongly recommending broad-spectrum sunscreens as a means to reduce the risks of skin cancer.