Health and Wellness Summer 2013 - page 9

9
Health & Wellness
Summer 2013
The Garden City Telegram
sun exposure happens before age
18. “That is the sun that causes the
majority of damage as a person ma-
tures,” Ebersole said.
The number of agriculture and oil
field workers who spend a lot of time
outdoors “definitely” plays a role in
the number of skin cancers the center
sees. Basal and squamaus cell can-
cer are the most common types, but
melanomas, which can be deadly, are
also seen.
She recommends sunscreen, wear-
ing wide-brimmed hats, “staying on
top of spots” and seeking treatment
for them in a timely fashion.
Ebersole said she and Dr. Marek
Kaminsky see “large numbers” of
cancers and pre-cancer spots every
day. The center has a “very large
population” of out-of-town patients
coming from Colorado, Texas and
Oklahoma.
“We actually have higher percent-
age of out-of-town patients than we
do just people from Liberal,” Eber-
sole said.
On its website, the Centers for Dis-
ease Control and Prevention says
staying in the shade and wearing
loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and
long pants made from tightly woven
fabric offer the best protection from
the sun’s UV rays. Wearing sunscreen
and sunglasses that offer protection
from UV and UVB rays are recom-
mended, as well.
More information is available at
/
basic_info/prevention.htm.
The CDC also warns against the use
of tanning beds.
“Indoor tanning has been linked
with skin cancers, including mela-
noma (the deadliest type of skin
cancer), squamous cell carcinoma,
and cancers of the eye (ocular mela-
noma),” according to the site.
“I don’t think that we have seen the
impact the tanning beds are going to
have on skin cancers, and especially
the melanoma type of skin cancers,
but it is going to be significant,”
Ebersole said.
To many people, sunshine
equates to happiness, including
fun times outdoors and walks
on the beach. Despite warnings
about excessive exposure to the
sun, many people cannot get
enough of the sun’s potentially
harmful rays.
While taking in the sun is benefi-
cial, it poses many dangers as well.
Separating fact fromfiction is essen-
tial for sun worshippers who plan to
spend ample time outdoors.
The Canadian Cancer Society
says that every three minutes an-
other Canadian receives a cancer
diagnosis. Skin cancer is the most
common of all cancers, account-
ing for nearly half of all cancers
in the United States. More than
3.5 million cases of basal and
squamous cell skin cancer are di-
agnosed in theUnited States each
year. According to the American
Cancer Society, melanoma, the
most serious type of skin cancer,
will account for more than 76,600
cases of skin cancer in 2013.
Knowing the facts about sun
exposure is essential to reduce
your risk of developing skin can-
cer. Unfortunately, certain widely
spread myths can make it diffi-
cult to differentiate between fact
and fiction.
MYTH:
Ineed to soak up the
sun to get enough vitamin D. It’s
true that the sun helps the body
produce vitamin D, but you do
not need to spend hours in the
sun to fulfill your body’s need for
vitamin D. Five to 10 minutes of
sun exposure is adequate, and
you can include vitamin D in your
diet by consuming foods and bev-
erages such as oily fish, fortified
milk and orange juice. Dairy prod-
ucts, such as yogurt and cheese,
also contain the vitamin D your
body needs.
MYTH:
I have dark skin, so
I don’t need to wear sunscreen.
The idea that more melanin the
skin contains the more protected
it will be from sun exposure is not
necessarily a myth. Dark-skinned
people typically do not burn as
quickly as those with lighter skin.
But many dermatologists agree
that darker skin is not adequate
protection against cancer and
even premature wrinkling. Ac-
cording to Mona Gohara, M.D.,
an assistant clinical professor
of dermatology at Yale School
of Medicine, a person with me-
dium-brown skin has a natural
SPF of around 13. However, it is
adviseable to use SPF 30 for basic
sun protection.
MYTH:
I’m wearing enough
sunscreen. Many people underes-
timatehowmuchsunscreen isnec-
essary to protect the skin. It is rec-
ommended to use at least 1 ounce
of sunscreen on exposed areas of
the skin for maximum protection.
Read the label of the product. You
may need to apply the sunscreen
every two hours or more depend-
ing on your activity level and how
much sunscreen is lost to sweat-
ing or swimming. You even need
sunscreen on cloudy days or if you
sit by a window while you work.
Also, wait 30 minutes between
application and heading out into
the sun. Chemical sunscreens take
that long to work.
MYTH:
The skin on the legs
and arms is not as delicate as the
face. It’s safe to get a little tan in
these areas. Skin is skin, and no
one area is less prone to sun dam-
age and cancer risk than another.
In fact, dermatologists say mela-
noma is most likely to form on
the head and trunk of men and
arms and legs of women. African-
Americans are at a higher risk for
lentiginous melanoma, which
develops on the palms and the
soles of feet.
MYTH:
Sunscreens cause
cancer. In 2001, a small study on
mice suggested oxybenzone, an
ingredient that is commonly used
in sunscreens, produced free
radicals that may contribute to
melanoma. However, the FDAhas
approved the use of oxybenzone
and there is no definitive link be-
tween human use of the ingre-
dient and melanoma. If you are
worried about chemicals, select a
mineral-based sunscreen instead.
Despite what’s known about
sun exposure and skin cancer,
many myths about exposure to
the sun still prevail. Regardless
of what you hear, it’s best to wear
sunscreen every day and cover
up to protect your skin.
Sun exposure myths can be harmful
Brad Nading, Telegram
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