Skin Cancer Facts Everyone Should Know

Skin Cancer Facts Everyone Should Know


You know you should stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. You know you should wear sunscreen whenever you go outside—whether it’s July or January. You know that you should avoid tanning beds and opt for a bottle of bronzer if you can’t live without a golden glow. But do you do these things? If you want to avoid skin cancer, you really should. It’s the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with more than 2 million people diagnosed every year according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

While one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime, brushing up on a few facts may help you reduce your chance of becoming one of them.

1. Previous sun exposure contributes to skin cancer risk.

You may put on sunscreen religiously now, but it takes only five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 to increase your risk of developing melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—by 80 percent. Previous sunburns also increase your risks of slow-growing skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Make sure you schedule an annual skin cancer screening with your primary care physician or a dermatologist every year.

2. Skin cancer is not just a women’s disease.

While the National Cancer Institute reports that 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will develop at least one form of skin cancer, the rate of melanoma in men in this age group has risen more than that of any other over the past 40 years. It can take years for skin cancers to develop, but it’s never too late to reduce your risk. Men as well as women should always wear sunscreen, protective clothing and a hat when spending time outdoors.

3. Alcohol can increase your skin cancer risk.

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that drinking more than one pint of beer of glass of wine per day increased the risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent. Researchers speculate that this is because alcohol consumption increases one’s susceptibility to sunburn by reducing the skin’s immune response to damaging UV radiation.

4. Skin cancer can develop anywhere.

Many melanomas and other skin cancers form in sneaky spots like the soles of your feet or the backs of your ankles and legs where they are harder to see. If you live alone and don’t have a significant other to help you check your skin regularly, you’re at increased risk for missing the signs of skin cancer—like suspicious moles—before they become significant. This is another reason you should schedule that appointment with your doctor.

5. There are new treatment options for skin cancer.

Your only choices used to be surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. However, new, targeted therapies—including oral medications that attack cancer cells— are available. They tend to have fewer side effects than the traditional treatments. Since 2010, the Food and Drug Administration has approved four new drugs for the treatment of melanoma as well as two immunotherapy drugs according to AARP.

Can You Really be “Too Young” for Life Insurance?

Can You Really be “Too Young” for Life Insurance?

The simple answer to this question is no.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2,513,171 deaths in the U.S. in 2011. Leading end-of-life causes included diseases of the heart, malignant neoplasms, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular diseases and accidents—most of which can strike at any age.

This means we can all benefit from life insurance, whether we use it to pay for our funeral expenses, as an investment vehicle, or to protect our family from financial hardship in the event of our death. Consider the following life stages and reasons to purchase this valuable form of insurance for each.

Young Adulthood

When you’re young and single, life insurance is unlikely to be a priority. You may have a career and earn a decent wage, but you probably don’t have anyone other than yourself who relies on that income. However, if your parents or grandparents have cosigned a loan for you—perhaps for college or a home purchase—you’ll want to make sure that those debts don’t become a burden to them in the event of your death. You can do this with life insurance. Bonus: your premiums will be lower if you buy your policy while you’re young and in good health.


If you purchased life insurance as a young single, now’s the time to adjust your policy to account for your increased financial responsibility. And if you’ve yet to purchase life insurance, there’s no better time than the present. Even if your partner earns a good income and believes he or she can manage financially once you are gone, life insurance can provide the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve done everything you can to provide for his or her future.


If you have young children and no life insurance, you’re jeopardizing your family’s well-being. Whether you’re a single- or double-income couple, insuring both partners is essential. Death of a breadwinner or a domestic partner can wreak havoc on one’s finances. You can use life insurance to make sure your spouse and children can keep your home, pay off debts, afford childcare and eventually finance college educations.


Your mortgage may be paid off, and your children grown and raising families of their own, but this doesn’t mean you should cancel your life insurance policy. Life expectancy is increasing, and the volatile economy has made it difficult for Americans to amass the wealth they need to sustain themselves in retirement. A life insurance policy will give you the freedom to tap into your home equity if you need to supplement your retirement income, knowing the proceeds can pay off the mortgage. And if you don’t have much in the way of savings or financial assets, the payout can serve as an inheritance for your family.

If you’d like to explore more reasons for purchasing life insurance at your life stage, or want to review your current policy, contact your insurance professional.