SPECIAL REPORT: Sun Dangers - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Sun Dangers

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

In the past few weeks, you might have seen me use the ever popular ‘pool forecast’ on-air.

It includes the high temperature for the day, a quick blurb about the forecast and something called the UV index.

This scale measures the level of UV radiation in an area at a certain time.

We now know that too much UV radiation can cause a multitude of health issues - skin cancer being the first one that comes to mind. Studies show over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other forms of cancers combined.

Dr. Lane with Lane Dermatology tells us that “it’s one of the few cancers that the rate is actually increasing. So a child born in 1970 the risk of melanoma was one and 75. A child born in 2000 is one and 45.”

In young adults, skin cancer is the second most common cancer.

For 33-year-old Cheryl Sweeney, this statistic was her reality. “I was extremely shocked. I was expecting to receive the biopsy results and just hear everything was ok” Sweeney said.

She was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 24. Since she’s in remission now, her visits to the doctor have lessened but her attention to sun safety has grown. 

“I wear sunscreen religiously," Sweeny said. "If I do go to the beach or if I am by the pool my beach bag probably has about 20 bottles of sunscreen.”
 
This might sound like an exaggeration but doctors suggest that the more time you spend outside, the more times you need to reapply sunscreen.

"One thing I don’t like about sunscreen it gives a false sense of security," Lane said. "Sunscreen only lasts at max 2 hours. Most of them typically only last 80 minutes. So you put it on before you go out that day but you still have to reapply throughout the day.”
 
Other ways to protect you and your family are to wear a wide brimmed hat and sun protection clothing, plan outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon, use sunglasses and most importantly keep children under 6 months old out of the sun.

A startling statistic shows that “more than 5 sunburns before the age of 20 increases the melanoma risk by 80 percent.

A sunburn is the skin’s response to overexposure to the sun. We wear sunscreen and practice sun safety to fight off the bad rays. But there are hundreds of types of sunscreen.

So what type is best for you and your kids? Dr. Lane recommends “an SPF minimum of 30, broad spectrum and we like things to be water resistant. And all of those things should be listed on the label.”
 
Dr. Lane added that annual skin exams are just as important as daily sunscreen use. You can also practice the ABC’s of at-home exams which can be found by clicking here.

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