Fact and Fiction About the Sun and Skin Cancer

People love to be outside. But whether it’s enjoying a day at the beach, hanging out at the pool, or barbequing in the back yard, people who Beach Umbrellas Open on the Beachspend time in the sun are exposed to harmful ultraviolet A (long-wave) and B (shortwave) rays. This exposure can cause skin cancer.

Research about skin cancer offers new and evolving information about how the sun damages skin and how people should protect themselves. In the past, UVB rays were of greater concern; but more has been discovered about the negative effects of UVA rays. Most researchers agree, however, that both UVA and UVB rays can cause premature skin aging and skin cancers.

Skin cancer is not always thought of as a “real cancer,” but it can be debilitating and should be taken seriously. If you have certain types of skin cancer, and it interferes with your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security benefits. But only cancer that has progressed far enough or is severe enough to stop you from performing “any substantial gainful activity” is likely to be considered for benefits.

Debunking Common Myths About the Sun and Skin Cancer

Most people know it’s important to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays. But there are many myths that cause people to underestimate the risks of sun exposure. Here are some interesting and surprising facts about how the sun can damage your skin:

Fiction: It is safer to get a tan using a tanning bed or in a tanning salon instead of sunbathing outdoors.

Fact: There is a greater risk of all cancer types by tanning indoors.

Fiction: It’s important to get a “base tan” to protect from getting sunburned.

Fact: There is no “safe” tan, and a base tan can’t protect you from the sun. You have damaged your skin if you have a tan.

Fiction: I’m safe from sun damage if it’s a cloudy day.

Fact: Clouds don’t protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. Eighty percent of UV rays can pierce through clouds.

Fiction: I’m most protected from the sun if I use a sunscreen with SPF 50.

Fact: You need a sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF factor indicates the protection you’ll get from UVB rays; many sunscreens do not block UVA rays.

Don’t be fooled by common myths. Skin cancer is serious, and you need to be clear about the real causes of this condition and how to prevent it. If your skin cancer has become disabling, and you are no longer able to work because of it, call us at 402-933-5405 to discuss whether you’re eligible for social security benefits.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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