According to the American Cancer Society, in 2018, more than 91,000 people have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
May is national “Skin Cancer Awareness Month,” and also happens to be the month of year summer temperatures begin to surface.
Before you head outdoors, doctors say its imperative to protect your skin with sunscreen. Even though skin cancer impacts a larger number of Caucasians, people of color are not immune to the damaging effects of the sun.
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“With patients of color, the incidents of skin cancer are much lower, however when the disease is discovered it tends to be diagnosed at a much later stage,” said Dr. Dornechia Carter, a dermatologist in Plano. “The later diagnoses leads to a much higher death rate, and a much lower survival rate and its because we’ve been told ‘people who have darker skin can’t get cancer."
“Its always important to check and stay vigilant," Carter explained. "African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to discover their cancer at stage IV when prognosis is very very low."
No matter what color of your skin, you need to choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30.
“I say the higher the better when it comes to sunscreen,” said Carter.
Other healthy skin tips:
- Avoid the sun when it’s strongest, which is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Cover bare skin: Wear hats, sunglasses, long pants and long sleeves as much as possible.
- Don’t use tanning beds or salons.
With such oppressive heat in the forecast, North Texans are reminded to check on their friends and loved ones with health problems as they may be among the most susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As always, never leave young children or pets unattended in an enclosed vehicle, even for a short amount of time, as temperatures can quickly rise to threatening levels.
Pets should not be left unattended outdoors for more than a few minutes.
Water is the cornerstone to staying safe this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said it's important to start drinking before becoming thirsty and if you know you're going to be out in the heat, begin drinking water the night before.
Officials recommend staying indoors, but anyone who must be outside should drink a cup of water about every 20 minutes and wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and slurred speech.
Take the following steps to treat a worker with heat stroke: Call 911 and notify their supervisor. Move the sick worker to a cool shaded area. Cool the worker using methods such as: Soaking their clothes with water. Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water. Fanning their body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness and confusion, nausea, clammy or moist skin, pale or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, slightly elevated body temperature and fast or shallow breathing.
Treat a worker suffering from heat exhaustion with the following: Have them rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area. Have them drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Have them take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.