May 6, 2011


WAYNESBORO, Tenn. – More than two million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Wayne Medical Center (WMC) offers tips on reducing the risk of skin cancer.

There are two primary forms of skin cancer. Melanoma accounts for only about three percent of all skin cancer cases, but causes more than 75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common and includes basal cell and squamous cell. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that almost half of Americans who live to age 65 will have non-melanoma skin cancer at least once.

“Skin cancer is primarily caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet rays from the sun,” said Dr. Joe Hall, chief of the medical staff at WMC. “We are able to reduce our risk of skin cancer significantly by taking precautions when involved in outdoor activities.”

The following actions can help to reduce the risk of skin cancer:

  • Cover up. When you are out in the sun, wear a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt or a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible.
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. The SPF number represents the level of protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays provided by the sunscreen. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that protect you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light.
  • Protect your children from the sun. Make sure children are adequately protected with sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide hat. Keep sunscreen in your vehicle, bag or child’s backpack.
  • Limit direct sun exposure during midday. UV rays are most intense during the middle of the day, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, plan outdoor activities around that timeframe.
  • Avoid tanning beds. UV light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, use a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

“Skin cancer can be successfully treated in most instances, when it is detected early,” said Dr. Hall. “It is important to check your skin on a regular basis for any new moles or dark spots, paying close attention to changes in size, color, texture and shape. Any new or changed skin lesion should be evaluated by your physician.”

About Wayne Medical Center:

Wayne Medical Center, an affiliate of Maury Regional Medical Center, is a not-for-profit community hospital that offers comprehensive health care services for the entire family. The hospital is licensed for 80 beds and is accredited by the Joint Commission. For more information, visit