If you live in the Denver area, you know the warnings about sun exposure. Not only do we get a lot of sun in Colorado, the higher altitude makes it more intense (thinner atmosphere screens out fewer harmful rays). Recent studies point out that melanoma is on the rise, especially among younger people. Even worse, when this type of skin cancer happens in your feet, your chance of survival can be as low as 50-50. That’s because it is often not caught there as quickly as it is elsewhere on your body. How can you protect your feet from sun damage? Here are a few tips:
- Stay inside at the worst times – generally from 10 AM to 3 PM when the burning rays are strongest
- If outside, seek shade – you can still do a lot of things outdoors if you just do them under a tree or an awning, or in the shade of a nearby building.
- Cover up – long sleeves, hats, long pants, and footwear can help keep your skin out of the sun. Remember that cotton has a low SPF rating, but you can buy clothing of special fabrics that block UVA and UVB rays fairly reasonably.
- Use sun-screen – make sure it is at least SPF 30, don’t be skimpy when you apply it, and don’t forget your feet. Also reapply if you sweat or swim it off, or are out for longer than a couple of hours.
- Check, and check again – you should check your feet each month for any suspicious spots, changes in moles or dark patches of skin, as well as any sores that don’t heal or white or red bumps. Cancer doesn’t often hurt in the early stages, so use your sight and tough to find any irregularities that should be evaluated.
One final tip: if you notice any cancer signs, no matter how small, don’t hesitate to call the foot specialists at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center in the west Denver area. You can reach both our Wheat Ridge and Golden offices by dialing (303) 423-2520, and use that number for our locations in Evergreen and Granby as well (limited hours). You can also request an appointment online. Here’s to staying safe in the summer sun!