July is skin cancer awareness month

Skin cancer has been on the rise steadily for the past 30 years.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. There are more than 1 million skin cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterine, ovarian and pancreatic cancer combined. And the number of skin cancers has been on the rise steadily for the past 30 years.

There are two main types of skin cancers: non-melanomas and melanomas.

Non-melanomas are the most common cancers of the skin. They rarely spread elsewhere in the body and are less likely than melanomas to be fatal.

Melanoma is much less common, but is far more serious. Melanoma is almost always curable in the early stages, but it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The short-term results of unprotected exposure to UV rays are sunburn and tanning. Long-term exposure causes prematurely aged skin, wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, dark patches, precancerous skin changes and skin cancers. The sun’s UV radiation also increases the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases, and can suppress the immune system.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to protect yourself from skin cancer. Following these practical steps can help protect you from the sun:

Limit direct sun exposure during midday. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun rays are the strongest.

Cover up — wear clothing to protect as much skin as possible.

Wear a hat with at least a 2 to 3 inch brim all around.

Use a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher. Sunscreen products labeled “broad-spectrum” protect against UVA and UVB radiation.

Wear sunglasses that block UV rays.

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.

It is important to check your own skin, preferably once a month. Learn to recognize changes in a mole, such as its size, shape or color or the appearance of a new spot. The “ABCD rule” is an easy guide to the usual signs of melanoma.

A is for Assymmetry: 1/2 of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.

B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.

C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white or blue.

D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than a pencil eraser or is growing larger.

As part of a routine cancer related checkup, your health care professional should check your skin carefully. To learn more on Skin Cancer go to www.Cancer.org or call The American Cancer Society at (800) ACS-2345.

Breakfast benefit

Join us Thursday, June 25, from 7 to 9:30 a.m. for breakfast.

You’ll have your choice of pancakes, veggie or ham omelet, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. The cost for this delicious breakfast is $5. What a great way to start your day before work, golf or hiking. The Silver Foxes and staff thank you for your support.

Health and volunteering

Did you know studies show that people who volunteer one to two hours a week are healthier, live longer, and are more satisfied with their lives? We are looking for outgoing, friendly, volunteers to deliver meals to our home bound seniors on Tuesdays. If you are interested, contact Julia or Musetta at 264-2167, or stop in at The Den.

Weekly Den activities

Friday, June 19 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Father’s Day celebration, noon.

Monday, June 22 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Attorney Jerry Venn, presentation on end-of-life decisions; canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, June 23 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Tim Erickson with The VIPs (Visually Impaired Persons); Meditation for Healing, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, June 24 — Dance for Health, 10 a.m.; Alzheimer’s support group, 1 p.m.

Thursday, June 25 — Pancake breakfast, 7 a.m.

Friday, June 26 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi (last class), 9:30-10:30 a.m.; book club, 10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Picnic in the Park and birthday celebration (reservation required), noon.

Father’s Day

We will celebrate Father’s Day here at the Senior Center on Friday. June 19, at noon. We will have a special gift in honor of all the support, love and guidance that they have given. Come in for lunch and help us say “thank you” for all that they do.

Attorney Jerry Venn

No one wants to think about the tough decisions involved in planning for the end or their life, but with careful thought and compassion, clear decisions that must be carried out by your survivors will make this time easier on your loved ones. Learn about living wills, Five Wishes and Durable Medical Power of Attorney on Monday, June 22 at 12:30 p.m., as Jerry Venn presents useful information for you and your loved ones.

The VIPs

Partial vision loss that cannot be corrected causes a vision impairment known as “low vision.” A person with low vision has severely reduced visual acuity or contrast sensitivity, a significantly obstructed field of vision — or all three. Do you have difficulty recognizing a familiar face, or when you read, does print appear to be broken, distorted or incomplete? These are just some of the signs of low vision. Join us Tuesday, June 23 for a presentation by Tim Erickson with Southwest Center for Independence.

Emergency plan

As part of the Archuleta County Emergency Plan, the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center is creating a list of people of all ages who may need assistance in the event of an emergency such as a blizzard, power outage, flood, etc. Folks on oxygen or an electric dependent health system should be on the list as well as anyone with a disability, which could make it difficult for them to evacuate. Please remember to keep a flashlight with fresh batteries handy, extra food, warm clothes, and to also have a phone available other than a cordless. If you think you may be in need of assistance during an emergency, contact Julia at 264-2167. Don’t delay, be prepared today.

Medical expense assistance

The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses. Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care. Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI. Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, contact Musetta at 264-2167.

Silver Foxes Book Club

Do you love to read? Do you have a desire to discuss what you read in a group setting of inquiring minds? If so, we have just the thing for you. Kathy Hamilton from the Sisson Library hosts the Silver Foxes Book Club on the fourth Friday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in the Den. Kathy can also obtain books on CD, cassette, and in large print. Stop by the Silver Foxes Den to sign up, or call 264-2167.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2009 ASI membership? During the month of June, you can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Folks 55 and older will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa.

Meals on Wheels

Archuleta County Senior Services is now offering frozen meals for once a week delivery to reach those who are rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more information, call 264-2167.


Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, June 19— Chicken salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato, orange juice, peaches.

Monday, June 22 — Teriyaki chicken, brown rice, spinach mandarin salad, tropical fruit, roll.

Tuesday, June 23 — French dip with au jus, oven browned potatoes, mixed veggies, strawberry apple sauce.

Wednesday, June 24 — Enchilada pie with lettuce and tomato, yellow squash, mixed fruit, whole wheat bread.

Thursday, June 25 — Pancake breakfast.

Friday, June 26 — Honey barbecue chicken, scalloped potatoes, mexicali corn, creamy coleslaw, grapes, roll.

Please note: Archuleta County Cultural Center Newsletter is available on Archuleta County’s Web site: www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniors.asp.