Weekly Safety Meeting – Skin Cancer Due to Sun Exposure

While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in a painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression.

Most people are not aware that skin cancer, while largely preventable, is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually.

Types of Skin Cancer:

Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States. UV light from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer. Contrary to popular belief, the UV light from tanning beds is just as bad for your skin. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early. Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths.

Over time, cumulative exposure to the sun causes the basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. More severe acute episodes of sunburn, especially at younger ages, are more likely to cause melanoma. It is very important to protect your kids from severe sunburn. People who are light skinned or burn easily are most likely to get melanoma.

Early detection of melanoma can save your life. A dermatologist should evaluate a new or changing mole.

Reduce your Risk of Skin Cancer:

Do NOT Burn – Sunburns significantly increase one’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds – UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling.

Generously Apply Sunscreen – Generously apply about one ounce of sunscreen to cover all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and provide broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Seek Shade – Seek shade when possible, and remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand – Water, snow, and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Check the UV Index – The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun overexposure. The UV Index forecast is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA.

Vitamin D – Get Vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don’t seek the sun.


Skin cancer can greatly reduce workers’ productivity. Providing and encouraging sun protection for outdoor workers helps create a healthy and safe workplace. It can also increase productivity, which ultimately saves money.

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