As we kick off the month of May we want to impress the importance and raise the awareness of skin cancer.  May starts summer break, vacations and lots of time outdoors, and while we love warmer weather, protecting yourself from the risks of skin cancer is one of the most important things you can do for your health. 
Join us, and the American Academy of Dermatology, in painting the nation orange for skin cancer awareness on Monday, May 6 – Melanoma Monday®. Rock your orange as a way to raise awareness of melanoma and other types of skin cancer, and to encourage early detection through self-exams. 
Did you know:
-Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
-Current estimates are that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
-Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer for 25- to 29-year-olds.
The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent. Yet, sadly, one American dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, almost every hour.
Be smart with your skin!
• Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin. Broad-spectrum provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
• Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.
• Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
• Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of skin cancer.
• Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
• Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
• Check your birthday suit monthly. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Visit www.SpotSkinCancer.org/SPOTOrange for more great resources. The site also offers a downloadable body mole map for tracking changes in your skin, a search tool to find free skin cancer screenings in your area and SPOT products.
Marguerite Germain