How to Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer This Summer

Associates in Dermatology, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, continues to deliver an unrivaled level of care to patients across 15 Central Florida locations.

“From our experienced physicians to our dedicated physician assistants and nurse practitioners, every member of my team works diligently to treat our patients just as we would members of our own family,” President and Medical Director Dr. Michael Steppie says.

Services & Awareness
“I feel my most important goal is to educate the public about the risks of skin cancer and encourage them to adopt simple practices to protect their skin,” Dr. Steppie says.

Soaking in the sun carries serious health risks. Skin cancer is the No. 1 cancer in the U.S. with more new cases arising each year than the combined incidences of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Actually, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Research shows that just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, later in life.

Skin cancer is a malignant condition that begins with the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Since the skin is our first line of defense against the outside environment, it is susceptible to the most damage from the sun’s radiation.

Our year-round sunny climate means local residents spend more time than normal enjoying the outdoors as well as higher level of exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Unfortunately, it also might explain why 4 out of 5 of the American cities with the highest skin-cancer rates are in Florida.

Dr. Steppie stresses that about half of all melanoma cases occur in men over age 50. In fact, a few years ago, he wrote an article called “Skin Cancer and the Gender Gap: Why More Men Die from Skin Cancer” that was published in the Skin Cancer Foundation Journal.

“I wish men would take a cue from women, as they tend to misperceive their level of risk,” Dr. Steppie says. “They are more likely than women to skip recommended precautions such as sunscreen and protective clothing, and they are also especially notorious for skipping visits to the doctor. So what might have been a simple, easily treatable skin cancer goes untreated for too long and becomes life-threatening.”

As a continuing sponsor of the Daily UV Index on Fox 35 for the eighth consecutive year, Associates in Dermatology has become Central Florida’s most trusted source for quality information about sun exposure.

Make sun protection a part of your daily ritual. Seek shade and avoid the sun as much as possible when its rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

As you are enjoying the sun this summer, “Play It Safe” and remember that famous axiom from Benjamin Franklin, “One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Do not jeopardize your health over a tan and remember that every single sun exposure adds up to cellular damage.

15 Central Florida Locations including:
Altamonte Springs and Apopka
Dr. Phillips
East Orlando

Dr. Michael Steppie, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon, is one of the few elite members of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Amonette Circle. His role as an ardent supporter of the Central Florida community goes far beyond the routine practice of dermatology.

Here are a few more important tips:

1. Protect your skin by using sunscreen SPF 30 or higher (ideally using physical sun filters). Dr. Steppie was a pioneer when he envisioned the recent “green sunscreen movement.” As you probably know, Hawaii has banned the use of sunscreen using chemical sun filters and soon will the Florida Keys. His sunscreen formulas, which are part of his advanced skincare regimen called Ethereal Beauty, only use physical sunscreens that are environmentally safe. They’re also enriched with antioxidants and emollients for optimal protection from free radical damage.

2. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Remember that water and sand magnify the damaging rays of the sun, increasing your chance of sunburn.

3. Keep newborns out of the sun!

4. Cover up. Wear light-colored, long-sleeved, tightly-woven clothes; a wide-brimmed hat, accessories like a sun umbrella carrying a UPF 50+ label; and UV-blocking sunglasses.

5. Schedule regular exams. Early detection is key. Cure rates are high and recurrence rates are low for cancers that are caught and treated early. If you notice a mole changing in color, size or texture, contact Associates in Dermatology to schedule a skin check.


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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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