Think about it, in just a couple of days we’ll all leave the fusty classrooms at Milken. We’ll hop onto planes, jump into swimming pools, hit tanning beds, play volleyball at the beach and practically live in our beds, leaving homework, tests and finals behind.
And while we’re out making those wonderful summer memories out in the sun, it’s easy to forget (or simply disregard) to apply sunscreen. Most of us hope to return to school in the fall with beautiful, healthy glows, bragging about our fabulous summers in paradise.
Some of us aren’t so lucky and return burnt, red and blotchy. We’re envious of those with the dark, tan skin. Did you know that one bad sunburn before age 18 can double your chances of getting malignant melanoma?
So you’re probably wondering, what the heck is malignant melanoma? To those of us who are familiar with the terrible disease, it’s the horrific illness that tore away one of our loved ones. But for those of us who have been a bit more lucky, malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. According to the National Library of Medicine, melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin cancer. This is due in fact to its capability to spread at a rapid pace. If not detected in its early stages, melanoma will spread to the internal organs, causing each one to fail.
Found especially among people with blue or green eyes, red or blond hair, and fair skin, melanoma development is related to sun exposure and ultraviolet radiation (also known as UV rays).
Living at high altitudes, in sunny climates and long term exposure to strong levels of sunlight raise one’s chances of encountering this disease. Blistering sunburns and the use of tanning devices also increase one’s chances.
The number one way to prevent melanoma is to apply sunscreen. Just ten minutes can make an immense difference in the long run. Sunscreen protects our skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun, therefore decreasing our chances of running into melanoma.
Malignant melanoma has affected so many of our friend’s, teacher’s and faculty’s lives here on campus. Some of us have lost friends and family members to melanoma, and others are related to people fighting to save their lives.
The statistics don’t lie. Only 2 out of every 10 people diagnosed with melanoma will be alive five years later, once the cancer reaches Stage Four.
So do yourself a favor. Put on a hat, don’t forget your sunglasses, and apply sunscreen. Because in five years, it won’t matter whether or not you came back to school with a “healthy glow.” All that will matter is that you saved your life.
Featured image: www.sunsafetytipsguru.com