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Awareness is more than just protection

BY REBECCA A. WATSON

With spring in full swing, we’re spending more time outside.  The sun invites us outside with a promise of fun and adventure in a way that a cloudy February day just can’t accomplish.

sunshine spring

How can you say no to such a beautiful sky?

It’s probably why Skin Cancer Awareness month falls this time of year. Being fair skinned and coming from a family that has a history of skin cancer, I know this is important, so I’m stepping it up a little this year.

Skipping the tanning booths and wearing appropriate sun protection, whether it be sunscreen or clothing with built in sun protection, are obvious ways to prevent sun damage. (Check out G4S’s sun protection post with Dermatologist Beth Schulz-Butulis for more on those topics.)

Being aware doesn’t just mean prevention. It also means detection. The Skin Cancer Association recommends a monthly, head-to-toe examination. If you can spot it, you can stop it, they say. After a few months, it’s only supposed to take about 10 minutes.

skin cancer body map

Download your own body map from the Skin Cancer Foundation

This is where I balk. I know I said I would take my skin cancer awareness up a notch, but it seems a little overwhelming. Marking all the moles I have on my body?!? If you’re a freckly sorta, I’m sure you can relate. This could take a while. *sigh*

But then I saw this. Have you?

I floss every day. Really. If I can develop that habit, I can develop this one. I’ve printed out the maps for both me and my hubby, and put a recurring event on the calendar.

If you don’t check yourself monthly, I invite you to make May your first check as well. Include your family too. If you’re already checking your skin, kudos to you! Keep up the great work!

Any tips or other ideas you want to share with us for Skin Cancer Awareness Month? We want to hear them. Comment on this post with your thoughts!

Rebecca Watson is a writer, fierce optimist, and health enthusiast. 

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