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Sun Safety

Okay, maybe I’m a little late to the party here, but I was recently shocked by a statistic I heard – that Boise is the #1 city in THE WHOLE COUNTRY for skin cancer deaths (see one article here). I guess on one hand, it’s not that surprising. We have beautiful, clear summer days and mild winter months that make it easy to be outside and enjoy Idaho’s natural wonders. And if you’ve lived here for a while like I have (a.k.a. we’re gettin’ old, folks), then odds are you grew up spending long sunny days working on your family’s farm or ranch. I don’t regret the time spent outside or the memories made while doing it, but it’s worth reminding ourselves from time to time that so much sun exposure does add up.

I’ll admit it, I’ve had a suspicious spot or two removed. So has my brother. And many of my friends. After a while, it becomes so commonplace that you can be lulled into thinking it’s normal – nay, expected – to see these results as we age. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

These statistics tell us that roughly three people in the Boise area will die from melanoma or other skin cancer this year. Follow these steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:

• If you haven’t had a full body skin check by an experienced dermatologist, schedule one right away. Afterwards, follow their instructions for at-home checks and plan to return for annual exams if recommended.
• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 every…single…day.
• Wear sunglasses that also offer broad spectrum protection from both UVA & UVB rays. Skin cancer can develop on eye lids and the sensitive skin around eyes.
• If at all possible, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (when rays are strongest).
• Don’t use tanning beds or lay out in the sun to tan.

If you want to learn more, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. Together we can work to make Boise #1 for sun safety. Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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