[Fox News] How I let the sunshine in after a skin cancer diagnosis

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As the sun rises each day, its warmth blankets the ground and invites us to step outside and bask in its glory. For many, the sun represents the epitome of joy, vitality and adventure. However, for some of us, this relationship with the sun becomes more complicated when skin cancer enters the picture.

While it’s essential to be cautious and take preventative measures, it is possible to still enjoy the benefits of the sun, finding a balance between health and happiness. 

Having been diagnosed with skin cancer myself, I understand the initial fear and uncertainty that clouds one’s perception of the sun. Suddenly, the once comforting rays can feel like treacherous adversaries, lurking to inflict harm. Accepting that the sun is now a potential danger can be a daunting realization, but it shouldn’t result in a total detachment from the outdoors. 

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When learning to embrace the sun after a skin cancer diagnosis, it is crucial to prioritize protection. This involves a multi-faceted approach that combines medical advice, personal responsibility and a dash of common sense.

Sunscreen becomes an indispensable companion for every outdoor adventure, diligently applied and reapplied throughout the day. Protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats and seeking shade during peak hours are also valuable tools in the arsenal against damaging UV radiation. 

But is it possible to strike a balance between protecting ourselves from skin cancer and enjoying the sun’s many benefits? The answer is a resounding yes.

The sun offers an array of advantages that extend beyond a simple tan or a day at the beach. Sunshine stimulates our bodies to produce vitamin D, vital for maintaining healthy bones and a robust immune system and more. Also, exposure to natural light is proven to boost our mood, alleviate stress, and even improve our sleep. 

The outdoors also provides an incomparable connection to nature, fostering a sense of serenity and gratitude. From a leisurely stroll in the park to challenging hikes in the mountains, nature’s beauty beckons, enriching our lives in ways that are difficult to quantify. It offers respite from our fast-paced lives, encouraging mindfulness and allowing us to cherish the present moment. 

So how can one revel in these benefits while still safeguarding against skin cancer? Like most things in life, moderation is key.

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Avoiding extreme exposure and opting for outdoor activities during less intense sun hours can minimize risks while still reaping the rewards of the sun. Early mornings and late afternoons often offer milder sunshine, making them ideal times for a walk or my favorite, sitting outside with a good book.

It is also crucial to have good communication with your doctors. Regular check-ups and discussions with dermatologists are vital for monitoring any changes in your skin and detecting potential issues at an early stage. 

Navigating life with skin cancer does not necessitate the complete abandonment of the sun. In fact, it would be bad for your health if you did! By embracing a balanced approach, we can enjoy the countless benefits of the great outdoors while safeguarding our health. 

Responsible sun exposure, coupled with protection and regular medical check-ups, allow us to responsibly enjoy the many health benefits and solace in the ever-warming embrace of the sun. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM DR. NICOLE SAPHIER

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