Arizona summers can be extremely hot and extended exposure to the sun can be damaging to our bodies. Anyone who has ever endured an Arizona sunburn, understands how painful and dangerous this can be! More than 1 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. That's more than prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterus, ovaries, and pancreas combined diagnosed cases of cancer. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented and there is alot you can do to protect yourself. Follow these practical steps - when used together, they will provide you with the best protection:

1.) Limit direct sun exposure during midday - UV rays are most intense during the 10am to 4pm hours. You should plan your outdoor activities before or after these hours.

2.) Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps - Tanning gives our UVA and frequently UVB rays which can cause serious long-term skin damage and both contribute to skin cancer.

3.) Ware shades and a hat - You should purchase sunglasses with at least a 99% UV absorption. And why not invest in a fun summer hat while you are at it!

4.) Use sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher - The SPF number represents the level of protection against UVB rays, which are the type of rays responsible for the majority of skin cancers. A higher number means more protection. Sunscreens labeled "broad spectrum" also protect against UVA rays, which also contribute to skin cancer. You should apply generous amounts of sunblock every 2 hours if you are out in the direct sun for a long period of time. Don't forget your lips, ears, and feet. And don't skip putting sunblock on if its an overcast day, because UV light still come through, dispite the hazy sky.

5.) Check your skin - Check your own skin for unusual changes, new growths or changes in skin color. If you notice any moles that have changed size, shape or color, contact your doctor right away. Skin cancer is most easily treated if found early.

6.) Celebrate "Don't Fry Day" - remind your friends and family about the importance of skin cancer prevention and early detection on the National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention's "Don't Fry Day" on Friday May 28th, 2010. To learn more, please visit www.cancer.org.