By Contributing Writer - March 08, 2021
With Major League Baseball spring training in full swing and spring weather rolling in, many Floridians will spend more time outside under the sun.
The ultraviolet rays in the sunshine state can be intense. UV light can damage your skin and eyes, causing wrinkles and freckles, and can lead to developing skin cancer. Sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Mole Patrol program typically travels across the state to provide free skin cancer screenings in the community. During baseball season, skin cancer experts host the Spring Swing Sun Safety Tour in partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays, visiting ball parks around Florida to teach fans about the importance of sun safety. Since the program’s inception in 2008, screeners have detected more than 5,000 suspicious cancerous lesions and 28 suspected cases of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mole Patrol has temporarily suspended community screenings, so spreading the word about protecting our skin is more important than ever.
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 10,000 people in Florida will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. By visiting a dermatologist twice a year and protecting your skin every time you go outside, you can lower your risk of developing skin cancer.
How can you protect your skin from the sun this baseball season?
- Use sunscreen! The easiest and most important way to protect yourself from skin cancer is by wearing sunscreen. Moffitt’s skin cancer experts recommend using an SPF of at least 30 and encourage you to reapply every two hours. Brands with the fewest ingredients are typically the best options, however any sunscreen is better than not wearing any. Remember to keep sunscreen with you at all times - in your purse, backpack or car - so if you end up outside when you hadn’t planned to be, you will always have access to this life-saving product.
- Wear protective clothing. Try to wear long sleeves and long pants to cover as much skin as possible when you’re out in the sun for long periods of time. Sun protective clothing is the best and safest option; however, any material is still a great option if you do not own any with sun protective fabric.
- Put on your hat. Wearing a wide brim hat is important to protect your face and neck. These areas are the most vulnerable as they are almost always exposed. Make sure your hat is made from tightly woven fabric so that the sun cannot peek through.
- Protect your lips. Many chap stick and lip balm brands make products with SPF. Look for an SPF 30 reference on the label to keep your lips safe from the sun.
- Grab some sunglasses. Your eyes can be severely damaged from the sun, so make sure to wear sunglasses when you’re outside. Your glasses should have UV blocking properties and fit your face well to help filter light through the lenses.
For more sun safety tips, visit Moffitt.org/MolePatrol.