Tips for Protecting You Against Skin Cancer

Tips for Protecting You Against Skin Cancer

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

As spring gets into full swing and we all look forward to spending time outdoors, being smart about sunscreen is one of the best ways you can prevent skin cancer. To get all the protection sunscreen offers, here are a few tips to help your skin stay healthy:dog and person with sunglasses

  1. Use a broad spectrum, 30 SPF sunscreen every day of the year–even when you are nowhere near the water.
  2. Apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before you go outside so it gets absorbed and fully protects you. The sun’s rays damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.
  3. Don’t use old sunscreen. Many sunscreens don’t have an expiration date but the protection will be its strongest for about three years. Tip: Write the purchase date on the bottle.
  4. Most people don’t use enough sunscreen. Use 1 ounce (picture a shot glass of sunscreen) to fully cover an adult body. Ears, eyelids, lips, scalps, feet and necks are the most forgotten areas that suffer sun damage.
  5. Sunscreen application is not a “one and done” process. Reapply the sunscreen every two hours, especially if you have been swimming or sweating.

The Centers for Disease Control also recommend that you stay in the shade, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck and sunglasses that wrap around as well as block both UVA and UVB rays.

Enjoy your summer!

Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol and Cancer

The advice on alcohol use can be confusing. One day there’s a research study touting some health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption (particularly red wine), and the next day another study reports that all alcohol is bad for you. One fact that is not disputed is that the less you drink, the lower your risk for developing cancer.Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a good opportunity to take a look at our drinking patterns through the lens of cancer risk to decide if making different choices might be in order.

Most people don’t have a problem with alcohol, but thinking about when, where, why, and  much you drink can give insights about the role alcohol plays in your life and your health.

Here are some resources from authoritative organizations to help answer questions you might have about alcohol and its role in cancer risk.

  1. Rethinking Drinking is a resource that can help you assess your drinking habits and provide valuable, research-based information to help you cut back or stop drinking if needed. It is available online as an interactive tool and as a brochure.
  2. American Institute for Cancer Research–Alcohol and Cancer Prevention
  3. Center for Disease Control–Alcohol and Cancer
  4. Are you worried about a loved one’s drinking? Use these tips to talk with someone about cutting back or quitting drinking.
Curb Your Cancer Risk:  30-day Checklist of Healthy Choices

Curb Your Cancer Risk: 30-day Checklist of Healthy Choices

Some good news about cancer…

It is estimated that nearly half of cancer deaths worldwide can be prevented, according to recently published medical research. Some cancers are out of our control, but we can make choices about our habits and the way we live to reduce our risk of cancer.  Here are some examples:

  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Protect your skin from the sun
  • Eat a plant-based diet
  • Limit alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight and move, move, move
  • Get vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B
  • Practice safer sex and avoid risky behaviors
  • Reduce your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution

Finally, know your family medical history and share it with your doctors. Most people do not have a family history of cancer so getting the cancer screenings your doctors recommend for your particular situation is important. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.

The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a free 30-day checklist to help you eat well, move more and make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your cancer risk. Find it here along with other cancer prevention resources.


The Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Cancer Health Check helps you learn more about your choices and how you can stack the odds in your favor.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)  Cancer Causes and Prevention

Prevent Cancer Foundation 

KGUN 9: ‘Bag It’ helps cancer patients navigate the road to recovery

KGUN 9: ‘Bag It’ helps cancer patients navigate the road to recovery

doctor patient bag it bagKGUN 9 News Anchor and Reporter Pat Parris Interviews colon cancer survivor Ingrid Jacobs and Bag It Cancer’s Executive Director Mindy Griffith about the impact the resources in the Bag It Bag have had on cancer patients.  Every month KGUN 9 features a local nonprofit for our Giving Project and Bag It is their charity for the month of February, 2023.

We invite you to make a donation to Bag It at KGUN 9’s Giving Project page. Their partners in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will match the first $500 in donations.

Watch and read this wonderful story about our organization.

Cancer: 4 Myths You Need to Know

Cancer: 4 Myths You Need to Know

With all the medical advances and education for cancer, it is amazing that myths and misconceptions about cancer still abound and worry us needlessly.Myth vs Fact graphic

Here we debunk a few common misunderstandings around cancer. Share this information with people as you gather this holiday season.  It could ease others’ cancer fears.


Number one

Cancer is always fatal.

Fortunately, this is incorrect. According to the National Cancer Institute Office of Cancer Survivorship, as of January 2022, it is estimated that there are 18.1 million cancer survivors in the United States. This represents approximately 5.4% of the population. The number of cancer survivors is projected to increase by 24.4%, to 22.5 million, by 2032.

Advances in the prevention, screening and treatment of cancer are improving cancer survivorship tremendously. 

number 2

Cancer is contagious.

Generally speaking, no, cancer cannot be “caught” from another person. It is also true that certain cancer-causing viruses and bacteria passed from one person to another can increase the likelihood of developing cancer. In rare circumstances involving transplantation or pregnancy, transmission has been known to occur.

Number 3

Cancer runs in families.

While some of us are born with genes passed down from our parents that may predispose us to developing cancer at some point in our lives, only about 5-10% of cancers are due to mutations inherited from a parent. Most cancers are caused by genetic changes that occur and build up from lifestyle choices and/or exposure to chemicals and environmental factors during our lifetime.

Number 4

Everything around us causes cancer.

Who hasn’t heard that using deodorant, cosmetics, hair dyes, smart phones, microwaves, sugar, artificial sweeteners, or being in close proximity to power lines all can cause cancer?

The good news: there is no consistent, conclusive scientific evidence to support these claims.

When you hear new or suspicious information about cancer, it’s a good idea to fact check by discussing it with your doctor. If you prefer to do your own online research, visit reliable cancer organization websites like these to find credible information you can trust. And, of course, there is a wealth of information on Bag It Cancer’s Resource Center.

National Cancer Institute

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)