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How Can We Talk To Friends About Skin Cancer Dangers?

I recently saw a Facebook post from a friend. She mentioned that she had X number of weeks left to get a tan during spring break and I have to admit, I was jealous. You see, spring break used to mean the same thing to me before being diagnosed with skin cancer. Growing up, I always worked on my tan during the week we were out of school for the break. And every weekend during the warm weather, you'd find me "laying out." Mind you, that was many years ago but I still miss it. When I saw her post I wondered to myself, "How do I talk to my friends about skin cancer?"

The numbers speak for themselves

According to the AIM at Melanoma Foundation1, Florida has the second highest rate of melanoma in the country. Not only that but take a look at some of the statistics: Approximately one in ten Floridians have been told they have skin cancer (9.2%).1

"In Florida, 17% of people reported having a sunburn within the last year, with adults 18-44 years old nearly twice as likely to have a sunburn (33%).1"

Sure, everyone doesn't live in Florida and that's not the point although the statistics are alarming.

How do you talk to family and friends about skin cancer?

It's not just that friend that has mentioned tanning. I have plenty of friends who get tanned in the sun, use the services of tanning salons, and one that even owns one.

Awareness is key. While some people may not think it can happen to them, and it may not, being aware of the dangers is important. And knowledge coming from someone who has experienced it firsthand may help. Especially if that person is a friend.

No one likes someone who is preachy but perhaps asking your friend if they worry about skin cancer may open the door to dialogue about it. If you love and cherish your friends, it doesn't hurt to mention it to them without being judgmental. And if they love you just as much, they'll appreciate that you cared enough to discuss it.

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