As summer kicks into gear, it is important for us to protect our skin from the sun.  Not only do UV rays cause damage to our skin, but they also make us more susceptible to skin cancer, the most common type of cancer. So how much do you know about skin cancer? Let’s do a quick quiz.  True or false -  We can only get skin cancer in areas that are exposed to the sun, right? Actually no. Skin cancer can form on almost any part of the body. Tanning beds are much safer than the sun? Is that one true? Nope, they can be just as damaging.  How about this one - we should get a base tan to protect ourselves from skin cancer...also false. And one more -  a common sign of skin cancer is changes to marks or moles on our body.  This one is true. If you notice anything different, it is important to get it checked right away.  Treatment for skin cancer is very successful if it is found in its early stages.

#PracticeSafeSun with these tips; Seek shade between 10 am-2 pm, and wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection. Sunscreen is key, especially wearing water-resistant SPF sunscreen, and replying every two hours after swimming or sweating is the most important thing to do. One of the most important steps in preventing skin cancer is wearing sunscreen, even on cloudy days, 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds. So how else can we be informed to product our skin? With educational sources like AAD.orgCDC.gov, and skincancer.org we can read up on how to inform ourselves and others.

We are sorting fact from fiction with five of the most common skin cancer myths busted...

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    Todd Arena - Thinkstock
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    Myth #1 - You Can't Get Skin Cancer Where The Sun Doesn't Shine

    Many people think that only certain areas of the body that are exposed to sun can get skin cancer. However, skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body. This includes uncommon places such as palms of the hands, soles of the feet, between fingers or toes, or even underneath the nails.

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    inxti - Thinkstock
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    Myth #2 - You Can Recognize Skin Cancer

    Skin cancer is commonly thought of as a spot on the skin with dark colors or abnormalities. However, skin cancer can come in many forms. Some of those forms include looking like pimples, warts, freckles, or bruises. They are not always large, either. They can be small and unassuming, but if you see anything out of the ordinary, contact a doctor.

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    gmast3r - Thinkstock
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    Myth #3 - A Biopsy Aggravates Skin Cancer

    Some people are afraid to get something that may be skin cancer looked at because they believe having a biopsy aggravates the cancer. This, however, is false. There is no evidence that indicates this happens.

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    .shock - Thinkstock
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    Myth #4- Get a Base Tan Protects You From Skin Cancer

    Tanning is probably the #1 activity that people love to do that causes skin cancer. Whether it is indoor or outdoor, tanning can be extremely dangerous. Some people believe that having a “base” suntan prevents the skin from burning. This actually can lead to deadly results. Tanning can lead to melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

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    BananaStock - Thinkstock
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    Myth #5 - Sunscreen Reduces Vitamin D

    There are a bunch of common misconceptions about sunscreen. One of those is that regular sunscreen use prevents vitamin D absorption. This is not true. There are many ways to obtain vitamin D, such as through foods, vitamin supplements, or small amounts of sun exposure (about 15 minutes is all you need).

    Sunscreen also does NOT protect you from tanning beds. With or without sunscreen, tanning beds expose you to intense UV rays that increase the risk of melanoma as well as other skin cancers.

    Be sure to apply a thick layer of sunscreen and reapply every 90 minutes and after going in the water or sweating.