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#GetReal: A Message From Our Founder on Skin Cancer Awareness Month

#GetReal: A Message From Our Founder on Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month? Read this letter from our Founder about how Cabana Life was started and her thoughts now looking back! 

May brings it all back for me. 

All of the talk about skin cancer and sun protection, it reminds me why I started Cabana Life. You’d think the 5” scar on my left arm would be enough of a reminder, but when you get so busy with life, it’s nice to get back to the basics of what is most important. To me, that is sun protection.

When I was a frightened 26 year old hearing the C word, and that “you can die from this,” suddenly my worry about having a scar was the least of my problems. Like so many people, I always considered skin cancer “cancer lite,” a little something your dermatologist could take care of. 
Well in the summer of 2001, I learned very quickly about the dangers of the sun. I vividly remember the statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation that shocked me most while sitting in my paper gown:
  • Your lightweight clothing isn’t protecting you. A lightweight tee only offers approx SPF 5-10 (3 when wet). 
  • One in 5 Americans gets some form of skin cancer before age 70
  • One blistering sunburn during childhood more than doubles your risk
At that time, nobody was talking about sun protection in clothing, probably because it was only available through catalogs at your dermatologist, and perhaps even more important, because it was downright unattractive (unless you were planning a stroll in the Sahara desert). 
When my dermatologist suggested I start wearing sun protective clothing and showed me the catalog, I remember saying, “Does it have to be ugly to work?” He looked at me confused and said, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.” I continued, “Why can’t it be beautiful, soft, flowing, something you WANT to put on your body?”
That’s when the seed for Cabana Life was planted, a sun protective lifestyle brand that would allow me to use beautiful UPF clothing, available via mainstream retailers, to teach people about the importance of sun protection EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Early detection saved my life. Prevention can help save us all. That’s why it is so important to talk about sun protection in May, and always! 

Melissa Papock, Founder of Cabana Life
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