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Quiz: What Do You Really Know About Skin Cancer?

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There’s a lot of misinformation out there about skin cancer. Do you know enough of the skin cancer facts to protect yourself? Take this quiz to find out!

Using a tanning bed before age 30 increases the chance of developing melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer, by…

People who start using tanning beds before age 30 have on average a 75% greater risk of getting melanoma, by far the deadliest form of skin cancer, compared to people who don’t use tanning beds before age 30, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The group has classified tanning beds, which emit intense ultraviolet rays, as human carcinogens. Note: Tanning beds are dangerous at any age!

Which beverage protects against skin cancer?

”Coffee is one amazing health drink. Research shows that it helps protect against both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. One analysis found that drinking three or more cups a day is more protective than one a day. The evidence applies to caffeinated but not decaf coffee, so enjoy your morning jolt.

True or false? During the winter, it’s safe to use lower SPF sunscreens than in the summer.

Experts recommend using the same skin cancer prevention routine year-round, including a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Even on gray winter days, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can damage skin. And if you ski, remember that the atmosphere is thinner at higher elevations, so it's easier for sunlight to damage your skin—and remember that snow reflects UV rays back onto you.

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If you had five or more blistering sunburns between age 15 and 20, your lifetime risk of melanoma is increased by…

Blistering sunburns are never good news, but research has found that having five or more blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 increases the chances of developing melanoma by 80%. The risk of developing two other forms of skin cancer—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma—increases by 68%. Researchers caution parents to protect children of every age from excessive sun exposure.

True or False? When darker-skinned people, such as African Americans, get skin cancer, it's rarely as dangerous as it is when Caucasians do.

While it's true that darker-skinned people are less likely to get skin cancer—skin pigment (melanin) protects against the sun's rays—when they do get it, it's often diagnosed at a later and more dangerous stage. That's why it's important for everyone, no matter what your ethnic or racial background, to be aware of skin cancer signs—and to wear sunscreen.

The color that is a sign a mole may be melanoma is…

It’s common to think of black or brown moles as potentially cancerous, but skin cancer can appear in many other colors. The best way to spot a suspicious skin spot is to follow the ABCDE acronym: If it is Asymmetrical, has uneven or notched Borders, has Colors that vary from one area of the mole to another, has a Diameter about the size of a pencil eraser or larger or is Evolving in size, shape, or color, see your doctor.

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True or false? Using sunscreen to prevent skin cancer causes vitamin D deficiency.

There’s no evidence that sunscreen use leads to vitamin D deficiency. Here’s why: Even sunscreens with very high SPF numbers don’t block 100% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, so some sunlight that triggers vitamin D production in the body still reaches the skin. Still, you may not want to rely entirely on the sun for your vitamin D, sunscreen or not—in many parts of the country, especially in winter, the sun isn’t strong enough to provide enough vitamin D. Consider eating vitamin-D-rich foods including fortified milk and salmon—and taking a supplement.

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Source: Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology, American Cancer Society, MD Anderson Cancer Center, International Agency for Research on Cancer, American Association for Cancer Research. Date: May 11, 2018
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