With the arrival of the year’s first weekend of “official” summertime, and as millions of us head toward the great outdoors for a little R&R, let’s take a closer look at new information about the connection between Parkinson’s and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Earlier this month, the journal Neurology reported new evidence that men with Parkinson’s are twice as likely to develop melanoma than men without PD, and that women with Parkinson’s are one and a half times more likely to develop melanoma than there non-PD counterparts. There was no link established between Parkinson’s and non-melanoma skin cancers.
- Avoid sunburns. Scientists think that even one severe, blistering sunburn in childhood can increase the risk of melanoma. (I had many.) Sunburns in adults also are dangerous.
- Stay out of the direct sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the strongest UV rays reach the earth’s surface.(I didn’t and don’t.)
- Avoid both direct and reflected sunlight. Sunlight reflected from water, sand, and snow can be just as damaging to the skin as direct sunlight.
- Shield the skin with clothing. Long-sleeved garments made from light, tightly woven fabric can protect the skin in summer and yet be cool and comfortable. Use a hat with a broad brim to shade the face. (I’ve only recently started wearing a cap.)
- Use sunscreen. Pick a sunscreen that provides “broad spectrum” protection against both UVA and UVB rays in sunlight. (Based on a Consumer Products review of sun screens, I’ve chosen Coppertone Sport High Performance, Ultra Sweatproof spray with 30 SPF.)
And see your dermatologist at least once a year! (At least I do that.)