As a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor at the Burbank YMCA, I spend my time helping people keep their bodies strong and healthy through physical exercise and encouraging healthy lifestyle habits.  However, as summer rolls around and we increase our outdoor activities with the sun's rays becoming stronger, a new focus and concern arises - proper skincare.  I want to remind everyone that an important part of keeping fit and healthy this summer is including proper skincare initiatives. 

Skin Cancer in the United States

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  In 2013, it is forecasted that approximately 77,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed.  Of those, approximately 10,000 people will die of skin cancer.  As if those numbers aren't bad enough, they are steadily increasing annually.  I believe that these numbers can be greatly reduced through four simple steps. 

1. Know the Causes

You can’t prevent something from happening unless you understand its causes.  The first step in keeping your skin healthy is to learn the various risk factors of skin cancer.  Risk factors include: exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning salons, having moles on your skin, having fair skin (skin that burns easily when exposed to UV light) and a family history of melanoma.  

2. Be Proactive

Be proactive and limit your risk.  Wear sunscreen to block harmful UV light when outdoors, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and wear a hat when outdoors for extended periods of time.  Most importantly, avoid tanning beds and sun lamps!

3. Take Responsibility & Check Yourself

Know your skin.  Each month, take a look at your skin and know the patterns of your moles, blemishes, freckles and other marks.  This way, you will notice new moles or changes in existing moles if and when they occur.  If you see anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor immediately and schedule an appointment to get your skin checked out.

4. Get a Second Opinion 

See your dermatologist regularly.  A recent ten-year study concluded that annual skin cancer screenings reduced the mortality rate of melanoma by 48%.  So what are you waiting for?  Make your appointment today - it may save your life!

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About the Author

Robyn Sardellitti, ACSM cPT

Robyn is a part-time Personal Trainer/Group Exercise Instructor at the Burbank YMCA.  You will usually find her during the weekdays teaching early morning cycling, Y-PUMP or squeezing in a workout before heading out to her full-time job.  Robyn is the Tax Director at iRobot Corporation.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, cycling and taking her dog, Bruce, for long walks.