Although many think most sun damage happens at a young age, the majority of sun exposure actually occurs after the age of 40. However, it’s never too late to make a difference in your skin health with these preventative tips.
It’s Never Too Late to Stay Protected from the Sun
(Family Features) It’s a common myth that most sun damage happens before the age of 18, but does this mean sun damage becomes less of a threat as we get older? Although many think most sun damage happens at a young age, the majority of sun exposure actually occurs after the age of 40.¹ However, it’s never too late to make a difference in your skin health.
In fact, between 40-50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once in their lives.² Non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, is the most common form of skin cancer,³ and most often occurs in people over the age of 50.4 This rang true for John Gohmann, who was diagnosed with advanced basal cell carcinoma at age 64, and has been an outdoorsman for as long as he can remember.
“Being outside my whole life, playing a lot of golf and working on the railroad, I never used sunscreen and didn’t think about getting skin cancer,” John said. “I was shocked to learn not wearing sunscreen was so dangerous and that I could still be causing myself damage, even in my later years.”
After ignoring a small lesion on his nose for years, John could no longer ignore the pain and finally went to see a dermatologist. The cancer had spread into the bone of his nose, upper lip and gums, and his doctor said he was not eligible for surgery or radiation because of the location and depth of the cancer. John learned for his particular case he was eligible for an oral pill, Erivedge (vismodegib), which is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with basal cell carcinoma that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be treated with surgery or radiation. John is still taking the medicine today. Like all medications, Erivedge is associated with serious side effects and has the potential to harm an unborn baby. Always consult with your doctor on possible side effects.
“For the first time in my life, I recognize the dangers of skin cancer and the sun,” John said. “I now have a routine to protect myself from harmful sun exposure, especially when I’m on the golf course, including wearing sun screen and protective clothing, and think it’s important for everyone to schedule an annual appointment with their physician.”
It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun. Dr. Keith LeBlanc Jr. of The Skin Surgery Centre recommends these preventative tips:
Important Safety Information and Indication
It is not known if Erivedge is safe and effective in children.
Erivedge can cause a patient’s baby to die before it is born (be stillborn) or cause a baby to have severe birth defects.
For females who can become pregnant:
Exposure to Erivedge during pregnancy:
Before taking Erivedge, patients should tell their healthcare provider:
While taking Erivedge, patients should avoid:
Possible Side Effects of Erivedge:
The most common side effects of Erivedge are: muscle spasms, hair loss, change in how things taste or loss of taste, weight loss, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, constipation, joint pain and vomiting.
Erivedge can cause absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) in females who are able to become pregnant. It is not known if amenorrhea is permanent. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider if they have concerns about fertility.
These are not all of the possible side effects of Erivedge. Because everyone is different, it is not possible to predict what side effects any one person will have or how severe they may be. Patients should talk to their doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Side effects may be reported to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. Side effects may also be reported to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
For more information on skin cancer, visit gene.com/skin-health.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man with doctor)
¹ Skin Cancer Foundation. The Sun Keeps Rising: Why Seniors Can’t Skip UV Protection. Available at https://www.skincancer.org/healthy-lifestyle/anti-aging/seniors
2Sun Protection. Cancer Trends Progress Report –2009/2010 Update. National Cancer Institute. Available at http://progressreport.cancer.gov/sites/default/files/archive/report2009.pdf
3 American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers. Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
4 Mayo Clinic. Basal cell carcinoma. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/basalcell-carcinoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20354187
5American Academy of Dermatology. Protect your skin from the sun. Available at https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin/taking-care-of-your-skin/protect-your-skin-from-the-sun
6 Skin Cancer Foundation. Basal Cell Carcinoma – Causes and Risk Factors. Available at https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma/bcc-causes-and-risk-factors
7 Skin Cancer Foundation. Basal Cell Carcinoma Prevention Guidelines. Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma/bcc-prevention-guidelines
8 American Academy of Dermatology. Basal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis And Treatment. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/basal-cell-carcinoma#treatment
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