While many adolescents are out tanning on the beaches, the residents of Heritage at Milford spent the afternoon of June 17 indoors to learn more about skin cancer.
Ellen Radziewicz, a physician's assistant from Rehoboth Plastic and Dermatological Surgery, presented an informational talk about the symptoms of the many types of skin cancer and preventative tactics proven to stave off skin cancer. The causes include UV ray exposure, radiation or chemical exposure, sensitivity of skin and the amount of time spent in the sun.
"There is a dark side of the sun," Radziewicz said. Most types of skin cancer present themselves in the form of skin discoloration or unusual bumps, but she stressed that if there is a problem, no concern is too small for your primary care provider to look at.
As for prevention, there are many products with UV protection, but many people don't know the difference between the types of protection. Anything with a UVA rating will help your skin fight against aging, a product with UVB rating will protect against skin cancer and any protective wear with a "broad spectrum" rating has both a UVA and a UVB rating. As for sunscreen, "You want to put it on 15-20 minutes before going into the sun," said Radziewicz, and nothing is waterproof - sunscreen should be reapplied after being in the water. SPF 15 will protect against 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 will protect against 97 percent of UVB rays; and SPF 50 will protect against 99 percent of UVB rays. Radziewicz explained she usually tells her patients SPF 30 should be adequate as long as it is applied correctly and liberally.
Unfortunately, the majority of those present at the lecture were not the ones who needed to hear it. "Delaware is actually one of the states with the highest numbers of [skin cancer] incidents," said Radziewicz, and teenagers need to know more about skin cancer. The government recently reevaluated the ratings for sunscreen, Radziewicz explained to the crowd "The government is getting more proactive in this arena because unfortunately, [skin cancer] is causing more deaths."
After the presentation, residents enjoyed skin-healthy snacks provided by their chef, Joe Ewing, which included cheese-broccoli bites, carrot and almond muffins and various choices of fruit. The different vitamins in the foods contribute to the skin's elasticity, anti-aging and skin's ability to rebuild damaged tissue.
The event concluded with a presentation that proved one is never too old to model. Various residents of Heritage at Milford wore clothing provided by Blooming Boutique in downtown Milford. The shirts, hats and pants all had tightly woven fabric to provide a high protection against the sun, but were also colorful and fashionable options.