Spring is here and it's arrived none too soon. By now, your cabin fever is getting the better of you, and you’re dreaming of kicking off your shoes and basking in the warm sunshine.
There’s just one concern. How do you take advantage of a day in the rays without harming your skin or endangering your or your family’s health?
Despite public health warnings about overexposure to UV radiation, only 17 percent of adults, including those with kids, say they always apply sunscreen lotion when they're going out in the sun for a half-hour or more.
Another 12 percent say they usually do, according to a recent ABCNews.com survey.
The fact that the average person isn’t regularly using sunscreen isn’t what surprises Dr. Anees B. Chagpar, M.D.,M.P.H., associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Rather it’s that more than a quarter of melanoma skin cancer survivors were also skipping any sun protection — and a few (2 percent) still use tanning beds.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, a disease that strikes nearly 77,000 Americans each year and takes nearly 9,500 lives, according to the American Cancer Society .
On top of that, the National Cancer Institute estimates that more than two million new nonmelanoma skin cancers will be diagnosed this year.
"We know that for many people with melanoma, sun exposure is a major risk factor for recurrence and sun protection may reduce their chances of getting melanoma again," Chagpar said in a written statement.
“Although we found that melanoma survivors did better than the general public at protecting their skin from the sun, we also found 27percent of melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen. That blew my mind.”