When my journey with Melanoma begin just a year and a half ago I never could have imagined how much love and support I would have received from countless amazing people. This week has been no exception. Seeing friends share facts, videos and quotes about Melanoma on their Facebook timelines in my honor. Receiving personal messages asking for advice on sunscreen and sun safety. All of these expressions of love and support have refueled my desire to share my experience and use my voice to help educate and raise awareness for one of the fastest growing cancers.
At forty, I may be the one on the beach under the giant umbrella with UPF 50 clothing covering me head to toe but I am not going to pretend that my sun habits were always safe. Being Canadian and living with long winters I would get out into the sun the first chance I had and that often resulted in some pink or red skin, even blisters. When I graduated from Nursing School in 1998 and moved down to North Carolina I enjoyed many days by the pool or on the beach. As you can see in this photo, circa 2000 I was rather bronzed. I look at this image now and cringe but I also know that if I knew then what I know now….it was NOT worth it!!
Today’s post is not meant to lecture or point fingers but instead provide my friends and family with some great sun safety tips as summer approaches. It has been a long winter for most of us and I know we are all craving some sunshine. Here are some of my favorite sun safe products.
My favorite sunscreen is by Babyganics. It has a good EWG rating. I use it on myself and my kids.
I also use a daily moisturizer with SPF in it and even my face powder has SPF in it:
I love Athleta’s UPF sun gear. I wear their swim tights and rash guards to run in, swim in and go to the beach.
My boys wear long sleeved UPF 50 rash guards from Gap.
Two other favorite stores for swim gear and hats include:
Coolibar. My husband wears their rash guards.
My favorite hats are from Sun Day Afternoons.
I am including a link to Dear Sixteen Year Old Me. Seeing it again this week and having friends share it on their Facebook timelines reminded me of how powerful the message is.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.
The overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes or other organs, is about 98 percent in the US. The survival rate falls to 63 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 16 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.