July is typically the hottest month of the year, and it is also when the sun's rays are the strongest they'll be throughout the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway). For these reasons, and the fact that more people are outside at work and at play during the summer than any other season, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, deemed July "UV Safety Month."
Ultraviolet - or "UV" - rays are produced by the sun and by indoor tanning lights. These rays can cause serious skin damage both in the short- and long-terms. In fact, numerous studies have shown a definitive link between UV ray exposure and the development of skin cancers, including melanoma.
Minimizing your sun exposure
"UV Safety Month" exists to remind us of good sun management habits that can be used the whole year round to help limit the damage from these harmful rays (thus decreasing our chances of skin cancer down the road). These include:
- Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater
- Reapplying sunscreen at least every two hours, even if it's marketed as sweat-proof or water-proof
- Avoiding as many of the sun's rays as possible during the hours of 10am and 4pm, when they are at their strongest
- Wearing protective clothing, including hats, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants, when outside, or using umbrellas and shades to block the rays
If you already have skin cancer...
Of course, practicing good sun habits can help you prevent your chances of developing skin cancer later in life. If, however, you've already developed a serious form of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma, these tips are "too little, too late." You could still prevent reoccurrences or the development of future skin cancers, but, in the meantime, you may be able to collect Social Security Disability benefits while you seek treatment.
Disability benefits aren't available for all forms of melanoma, but are reserved for the most serious types, namely malignant recurrent or metastatic skin, ocular or mucosal melanoma. More information about SSD benefits for neoplastic diseases (like melanoma) is available in the Social Security Administration's "bluebook" of disability listings. If you need help seeking disability benefits for your own serious medical condition (or that of a loved one for whom you provide care), contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney in your area.