Health & Fitness
Don’t Brave the Summer Sun Till You Read This!
By John Hanc
Think it’s wimpy to slather on sunscreen, wear hats and avoid the brightest outdoor rays? Then you better be man enough to stare down melanoma, the most common form of cancer for young adults.
Why should you worry about skin cancer? You’re young and fit. Skin cancer -- that’s something that happens to geezers and grandmas, right?
Maybe that explains why so many people your age ignore the risks. Even big-time athletes, who have access to the best medical advice and the most to lose by not taking care of their bodies, rarely take precautions. According to a 2006 study of male and female NCAA athletes, only 8 percent used sunscreen.
Even docs know how young men feel about it. “They don’t heed the warnings,” says Dr. Jeffrey Dover, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. “You feel infallible at that point in your life,” agrees dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Bielinski, a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. “You tend to throw caution to the wind.”
But the wind’s not the problem, here. It’s the sun. And here’s why you should care: Skin cancer is caused by the cumulative effects of sun exposure. When do you think you get most of that exposure? When you’re 40 and spending five days a week in an office? No, siree. It’s when you’re working and playing and hanging out at the beach, by the lake, in the park.
In other words, you could be frying up a nice case of skin cancer for yourself right now. Oh, and it doesn’t always wait until you’re way into “man-o-pause” to strike, either. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- is now the most common form of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15 to 29 years old.
You want to look like the young stud you are for the girls on the beach -- and prevent the big C? “In a nutshell, sunscreen and protection are the keys to staying young-looking and avoiding skin cancer,” says Dr. Dover.
Here’s what the good doctors and the American Academy of Dermatology recommend:
Wear a Hat
Stay out of the Strongest Sun
Eat a Balanced Diet
Avoid Tanning Beds
Remember: If you think you look good with a deep tan, think about how disfiguring a scar from melanoma removal can be (and sometimes, that’s the best-case scenario).
Like this article? .
John Hanc is a New York-based fitness writer and author of eight books, including The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon.
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