Severe sunburns, especially during childhood, increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. In fact, just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, like Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD, Clinical Director of Mass General's Melanoma & Pigmented Lesion Center, Director of the Melanoma Genetics Program, are pioneering new skin cancer treatments and prevention efforts.
Here are some tips from Dr. Tsao on how you can stay safe in the sun this summer:
Generously apply sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Apply it at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Look for clothing items that have SPF manufactured right into the fabric.
Seek shade when the sun's rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use extra caution near water and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds. Research indicates there is no way to get a tan through ultraviolet exposure without increasing the risk for skin cancer.
Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun as a vitamin D source.
Be aware of medications that can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
By following these steps, you can help prevent skin cancer and enjoy the outdoors.
We hope that you have a safe summer, and as always, thank you for your support!
Your Friends at the MGH Fund
About the MGH Fund
The MGH Fund supports Mass General's areas of greatest need. When you donate to the MGH Fund, your contribution helps us advance patient care initiatives, seed innovative biomedical research, expand our community and global health efforts, and educate the future leaders of medicine.