With all the talk about people lacking vitamin D in their lives, combined it with the controversy on if vitamin supplements work or if they are simply more harmful than had we not taken them at all, combined with the people on the paler side of the spectrum unhappy with their skin color, you will likely catch more people spending excessive amounts of time out in the scorching hot sun.
Well, here is yet another thing to think about before you go and spend all day in the sun. Skin cancer. Particularly melanoma, one of the most frequently occurring and one of the most expensive types of cancers to treat. In 1982, there was about eleven cases of melanoma for every one hundred thousand people. Fast forward to now, the amount has essentially more than doubled, and let’s just say that the invention and prolonged use of tanning beds is not helping the situation. This type of cancer kills at least nine thousand people every year in the United States. A lot of people will look at stories like this, shrug their shoulders and say ” Oh well. It will not happen to me, the chances are still incredibly low.” Well I have news for those people. Even if you are one of those who gets lucky and does not develop it, it can still make your life miserable. Remember when I said that Melanoma was one of the most expensive skin cancers to treat? Well I was not kidding. In 2011, the illness racked up to four hundred and fifty seven million dollars in medical costs in the states to treat, and without anyone caring about it’s development, projected calculations indicate that in fifteen years from now, that cost will triple to 1.6 billion. Think about how valuable a doctor’s time is going to be when you finally do fall ill and are in need of a medical professional’s help if the cost of treating melanoma increases to such a price.
So how do we protect ourselves from this and reduce the chance of these insane predicted rates from actually happening? Well there is a few ways. Some are impractical I am willing to admit, but others are very doable if some diligence is provided. The first, and most practical in my opinion is to limit your time in the sun, particularly between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm. I understand that some jobs such as construction and other manual labor jobs have people outside basically all day, which is why I prefaced these solutions by saying that they will not be exactly the most practical for certain audiences. However, that does not mean that children on the weekends can not enjoy some type of indoor activity during these peak hours of hot sun time and wait till the sun cools down to go outside. This goes the same for those who love going outside and “soaking up the sun” especially for those who go out and use those solar panels with the intention of getting more sunlight drawn to them. The next option is to wear clothing that does not expose the skin to the sun all day if you choose to be outside. I can already hear the complaints to this one. “How on earth can anyone expect people to wear sweaters or long sleeves of any kind during these hot days?!” Slow down, I have already thought of a solution. You can still wear your t shirts and shorts, but you may want to invest in some long sleeve under armor type clothing that is designed to keep people cool in conditions where athletes are sweating profusely. You may think it looks silly, but picture how silly you will look and feel when you are paying out of your behind for medical bills due to melanoma, all because you thought purchasing a forty or sixty dollar ensemble that could have potentially protected you from it all looked silly. The last option, and the most impractical in my opinion, is to frequently use sunscreen. This option is the most impractical to me because people already have busy enough schedules and will easily forget to apply the substance everyday. Not only that, but now research is coming to the conclusions that the more expensive and powerful sunscreens are not nearly as protective they indicate. In fact, in order for these products to be really effective, studies suggest reapplying the substance every two hours for those who spend excessive amounts of time outside. On top of all of this, there are even some products which contain chemicals that make people more sensitive to the sun, so there is even more controversy behind sunscreen. Malicious acts like these from companies turn people off of the stuff and makes them not even want to think about using it.