Listen up, sun worshippers. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and for the second straight year, it takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though many of us remain separated, we can still unite against skin cancer and help save lives.

Believe it or not, skin cancer is America's most common cancer with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year. Wow! Over 5 million. Fortunately, it's also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

According to a report from WWLP/22 News Springfield, there are many things you can do to prevent yourself from getting it.

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Most skin cancers can be treated. Melanoma, however, can be deadly. About 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85% of melanoma skin cancers are courtesy of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from good old Mr. Sun.

UV radiation from the sun is sneaky. It can reach you even when you're trying to avoid it. Penetrating clouds and bouncing off water and sand. Damage from the sun also accumulates over the years and even simple tasks like walking the dog and traversing a parking lot can be harmful.

If you absolutely MUST get a tan, protect yourself. Or, if mom likes to work in the garden, give her a Mother's Day gift of helpful tips to keep her skin healthy. Here are just a few ways you can be safer from the sun:

  • It may seem obvious but, don't get sunburned
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating
  • Keep infants out of the sun
  • Stay in the shade as much as you can, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Cover up! And don't forget that wide-brimmed hat. Oh, and a pair of good sunglasses. Not that $2 pair you bought at the beach gift shop
  • Check your skin from head to toe once a month for warning signs
  • If at all possible, limit your use of tanning beds. They expose you to the strongest amount of UV radiation

And though it is true that fair-skinned people are most at risk, you are still at risk, regardless of skin tone, if you don't take the proper steps. Hopefully, it will be a long and beautiful summer. Let's all try to be sun-safe.

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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