By Colleen Morley-Grabowski, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCM

As the summer sun shines brightly in the sky, it's important to remember that July is UV Safety Month to raise awareness about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and the risk of skin cancer. This month serves as a crucial reminder to take proactive steps to protect our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. As I have three family members across three generations (father, sister, and daughter) who have been diagnosed with forms of skin cancer, I can attest that this is a severe issue! 

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year. The primary cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation from the sun, as well as from tanning beds and sunlamps. The impact of skin cancer is not only physical but also emotional and financial, as it can lead to disfigurement, high medical costs, and emotional distress for both the patients and their families. The good news is that skin cancer is highly preventable, and UV Safety Month provides an opportunity to educate people about the importance of sun protection and early detection. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind during UV Safety Month and throughout the year:  

  1. Use Sunscreen: Applying sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is crucial in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. It is essential to apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. 
  2. Seek Shade: Whenever possible, seek shade, especially during the peak hours of UV radiation between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This can significantly reduce the risk of sunburn and skin damage. 
  3. Wear Protective Clothing: Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and clothing that covers the arms and legs can provide an additional layer of protection against UV radiation. 
  4. Perform Self-Exams: Regularly check your skin for any changes, such as new moles or spots, and consult a dermatologist if you notice anything unusual. (all 3 of my family members self-detected and caught theirs early) 

The impact of skin cancer goes beyond physical health. It can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, and depression, especially for those undergoing treatment or dealing with the fear of recurrence. Additionally, the financial burden of skin cancer treatment can be substantial, causing stress and hardship for individuals and families. By raising awareness about the impact of skin cancer and the importance of UV safety, we can empower individuals to take control of their skin health and make informed decisions about sun exposure. 

UV Safety Month provides a platform to engage and educate people about the significance of skin cancer prevention and early detection. As we bask in the warmth of the summer sun, let's remember to prioritize our skin health and take the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of skin cancer. By spreading awareness and practicing sun safety, we can positively impact our overall well-being and inspire others to do the same.  

Join us for a comprehensive introduction to life care planning. Learn about the scientific process behind developing life care plans, integrating the nursing process, and understanding various categories of need. Discover the difference between acute care planning in case management and long-term planning, including the impact of aging on disabilities. Real-life case examples will illustrate the care plans for both plaintiffs and defense. FREE for Members and Non-Members! This webinar is presented by the American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners (AANLCP), a CMSA Affiliate Partner.

Bio: Dr. Colleen Morley-Grabowski, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCM is the Associate Chief Clinical Operations Officer, Care Continuum for University of Illinois Health System and the current President of the Case Management Society of America National Board of Directors. She has held positions in acute care as Director of Case Management at several acute care facilities and managed care entities in Illinois, overseeing Utilization Review, Case Management and Social Services for over 14 years; piloting quality improvement initiatives focused on readmission reduction, care coordination through better communication and population health management. Her current passion is in the area of improving health literacy. She is the recipient of the CMSA Foundation Practice Improvement Award (2020) and ANA Illinois Practice Improvement Award (2020) for her work in this area. Dr. Morley also received the AAMCN Managed Care Nurse Leader of the Year in 2010 and the CMSA Fellow of Case Management designation in 2022. Her 1st book, “A Practical Guide to Acute Care Case Management”, published by Blue Bayou Press was released in February, 2022. Dr. Morley has over 20 years of nursing experience. Her clinical specialties include Med/Surg, Oncology and Pediatric Nursing. She received her ADN at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL; BSN at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL, MSN from Norwich University in Northfield, VT and her DNP at Chamberlain College of Nursing.