Do you know when the ultraviolet rays from the sun are strongest? What are the best ways to prevent skin cancer? What does the SPF on sunblock stand for? For the answer to these questions and more stop by The Outer Banks Hospital’s booth at Team Sandtastic at Kitty Hawk Sports in Nags Head on July 3rd, 4th and 5th. The hospital will be giving away free information and samples of sun block to promote to some simple steps everyone can take to prevent skin cancer.

In addition, the following physicians will be on hand at in the hospital’s booth to perform skin cancer screenings and answer questions: Dr. Michael Smith, July 3rd, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dr. Demetri Poulis, July 4th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Dr. Jennifer Seibert, July 4th, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States.

The best ways to lower the risk of developing all kinds of skin cancer are to avoid intense sunlight for long periods of time and to practice sun safety. Tips for protecting the skin include:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are brightest and strongest.
  • Slip on a shirt. Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you’re out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to the light.
  • Slop on sunscreen. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 and higher. Apply a generous amount (about a palmful) and reapply after swimming, toweling dry or perspiring.
  • Slap on a hat. Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses with 99-100 percent UV absorption to provide optimal protection for your eyes.
  • Follow these practices even on cloudy days since UV rays come through clouds.

For additional information on skin cancer, visit The Outer Banks Hospital Cancer Resource Center or call Betse Kelly at 449-7350.