ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s hard to not want to get outside nearly any chance possible during Rochester summers. When the 80-degree days are short-lived, most people want to make the most of them. 

But safety during the summer is incredibly important to keep in mind, especially with skin cancer being the most common cancer in the United States.

With August being Summer Sun Safety Month, we spoke with the American Cancer Society to discuss what safety tips you should keep in mind. 

Why is Summer Sun Safety Month so important?

“Here in Western New York, the sun finally shines and everybody’s coming out to coming out of hibernation and seeing parts of their skin that they haven’t seen in quite a long time, and getting out and enjoying the beautiful area that we live. It’s a great time to think about how to do it safely and protect yourself from melanoma and other skin cancers,” said Jason Coleman, with the American Cancer Society.

What are some of the benefits of the sun?

“Being in the sun allows the body to naturally produce Vitamin D, which has some helpful benefits, but you know, everything in moderation and there are safer ways to get your Vitamin D through your diet and supplements than actually getting out in the sun,” Coleman said. 

What are some of the dangers of being in the sun too much? 

“Skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer, so it’s quite common,” Coleman said. “The major cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV. UV rays are being out in the sun, so exercise caution, use sunscreen, cover up your skin, wear hats, protect your eyes, and don’t overlook the importance of interacting with your healthcare team regularly.”

According to the American Cancer Society website, UV radiation is a “form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds and welding torches.” Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation. 

Some tips to keep in mind: 

  • UV rays are the strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
  • UV rays are stronger during the spring and summer months 
  • UV exposure goes down as you get farther from the equator 
  • More clouds can affect UV exposure, but rays can still reach the ground even on cloudy days 
  • UV rays can bound off of surfaces, like water, sand, snow and pavement, and can lead to an increase in exposure

What should you be on the lookout for on your skin?

“A reminder: you know your skin better than anyone, right? You’ve seen it your whole life. So if you see something that doesn’t look normal, in particular, a spot that may be changing in shape, bleeding, itchy, that’s something that you certainly want to bring to the attention of your medical provider and your dermatologist,” Coleman said. 

Coleman adds it’s important to have an annual appointment with your primary care provider to discuss your skin. He also said annual appointments with a dermatologist are important so you can look at your whole body and catch anything before it turns into cancer. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It’s estimated that roughly 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. 

For more summer sun safety tips, you can visit the American Cancer Society’s website by clicking here.