May: Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers in the US, and more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. That’s a staggering number, and that’s why preventing skin cancer is a huge health care priority. And prevent it we can – by making new habits and carefully monitoring our skin.

Prevention starts with awareness, and this month, you’ll learn what you need to know about skin cancer from our team of experts, who are experienced and knowledgeable dermatologists.

Dr. Jodie Markus gives us background on the disease and important information about free local screening opportunities this month. Jodie’s husband and practice partner, Dr. Ramsey Markus, reminds us about the importance of limiting our exposure to the sun. He comments on some of the new sun-protection products that help us avoid the sun’s most damaging rays. We now know enough about the dangers of exposure to the sun’s radiation and can no longer ignore our own responsibility for taking the proper preventive measures.
 
Indeed, prevention is the magic word and the key to health care reform, too. One real reason why health care costs are skyrocketing is because we're not doing a very good job of taking care of ourselves. Too many of us eat the wrong foods in the wrong amounts (think sugar and fat), worry too much, smoke cigarettes, consume excessive alcohol and recreational drugs, don't get enough sleep, zone out in front of screens, and put exercise off for too long. The result is that too many of us are not well, suffering from common conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol – resulting in heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other painful and expensive-to-treat diseases, many simply caused by bad habits.

Because awareness is the key to prevention, we need to closely examine our habits and assume responsibility for our own health and well-being. Awareness starts with learning more about and being motivated to take better care of our bodies.

Engage in your own health by becoming an active partner with your physician to determine your risk profile and get the physical exams or tests you need to immediately start making healthier choices.
 
A big part of the answer to the health care crisis lies in our day-to-day habits. Make a simple start by identifying just one new habit you could adopt in the next few weeks – just one. Eat more fruits and vegetables every day? An admirable new habit! Take a walk after dinner instead of settling in front of a screen? A wonderful new habit! Quit smoking and take up knitting? A life-saving new habit!

Our habits can support us or hurt us. Let's work together to choose health over health care. We'll prevent illness, save billions of dollars, and enjoy life more. That’s an outcome that’s worth the effort.

In the meantime, think about prevention and make sun block part of your daily routine.

Be well,
Dr. Andrea Pennington
 

Published on 05/04/2009 | Last updated on 12/20/2016