Sun Safety While You Run

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.  Of the three main types of skin cancer, Melanoma is the deadliest. “Knowing the basics of sun safety can help prevent skin cancer. Outdoor athletes receive higher doses of UV radiation than most people, with greater melanoma risk factors found in outdoor athletes” says Dr. Heuring, Mercy Health dermatologist. The American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) recommends using sunscreen with at least Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 and limiting exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest (if your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade!)

In addition to these, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that you Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap!

Slip on a shirt- up to 80% of UV radiation can still get through on a cloudy day.

Slop on at least an ounce of SPF 30 sunscreen thirty minutes before going outdoors.  Re-apply every two hours and more frequently if you are sweating.

Slap on a hat- the hat should have at least a 2–3-inch brim all around

Wrap on sunglasses- they should have at least 99% UV absorption to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common and includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Warning signs of non-melanoma skin cancer include:

  • A new skin growth
  • A spot that is getting larger
  • A sore place that does not heal within three months
  • Any change on the skin, especially the size or color of a mole
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump, nodule, or mole
  • The spread of pigmentation beyond the border of a mole
  • A change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain in the skin

The ACS guidelines state that anyone who is age 20 and older should have a skin examination by a physician during his/her health-related check-up.

The warning signs of non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma are different.

Warning signs of melanoma have a simple ABCDE rule:

Asymmetry: one half of the mole does not match the other half

Border irregularity: the edges are ragged, notched or blurred

Color: pigmentation is not uniform, with variable degrees of tan, brown, or black

Diameter: greater than 6mm- about the size of the eraser end of a pencil. Any sudden increase or progressive increase should be of concern. 

Evolution: new or changing skin growths or spots

We hope you keep these healthy tips in mind – especially those currently preparing for the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon. If you’ve been training but have yet to sign up, there is still time to register.

To schedule an appointment with Mercy Heath – Dermatology visit