Guarding Against the Sun: Addressing the Rise of Skin Cancer in Arizona

June 20, 2023

As the sun shines brightly upon Arizona, the state is facing a concerning rise in skin cancer cases. With its long sunny days and outdoor lifestyle, Arizonans are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer due to prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It is crucial to prioritize skin protection and early detection to reduce the impact of this growing health concern.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and Arizona's residents are particularly vulnerable to its effects. To safeguard your skin and promote overall skin health, follow these essential tips:

  • Apply sunscreen: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours, especially when engaging in outdoor activities. Pay attention to commonly overlooked areas such as the ears, back of the neck, and tops of the feet. Many local health clinics, community centers, and public health departments offer free sunscreen distribution programs. Check with your local organizations to find out where you can access free sunscreen.
  • Seek shade: Limit direct sun exposure during peak hours, generally between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest. Find shade under trees, umbrellas, or seek shelter indoors when the sun's intensity is at its peak. Some parks, recreational areas, and public spaces provide shaded areas or covered structures for people to seek refuge from the sun's rays.
  • Wear protective clothing: Cover exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses to shield yourself from harmful UV radiation. Look for lightweight and breathable clothing options that offer sun protection. Some local organizations and non-profits provide free or low-cost sun-protective clothing items to individuals in need. Reach out to these organizations to inquire about their services.
  • Perform regular self-examinations: Check your skin monthly for any changes, such as new moles or lesions, and consult a dermatologist for professional skin examinations. Look for the ABCDEs of skin cancer: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolving shape, size, or color. If you are unable to afford a dermatologist visit, several community clinics and health centers offer free or low-cost skin cancer screenings. Contact your local healthcare providers or search for free skin cancer screening events in your area.

To help address the rising concern of skin cancer in Arizona, several local free resources are available to provide education, support, and screenings:

  1. Arizona SunWise Program: This statewide initiative offers educational resources on sun safety and skin cancer prevention. They provide free educational materials, workshops, and community programs. Visit their website at for more information.
  2. Skin Cancer Screening Events: Keep an eye out for free skin cancer screening events organized by local healthcare institutions, community organizations, and government agencies. These events are often held in public spaces, community centers, or health fairs. Check your local news outlets or community bulletin boards for upcoming events.
  3. Skin Cancer Foundation's Arizona Chapter: The Arizona chapter of the Skin Cancer Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and providing educational resources about skin cancer prevention and early detection. They offer free educational materials, webinars, and resources on their website at

Remember, protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation is a year-round commitment. By taking preventive measures and utilizing the available free resources, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer and promote overall skin health. Stay sun-safe, stay informed, and prioritize your skin's well-being!