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DALLAS (CBS11) – As we head into the holiday weekend, a warning from local doctors: sunburn is uncomfortable; but, skin cancer kills. According to experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center, an American dies of skin cancer every hour, of every single day.
So whether you’re headed to the lake, splash park or pool, cooling off should not be your only concern.
“I was just telling the other moms here that it’s so nice that bathing suits have long sleeves, now, because it makes such a big difference,” says Tina Lyons while enjoying a Lake Highlands area splash park. And she admits that times have changed for the better since she was a fair-skinned kid, back then she just “got sunburn.”
So now, Lyons heads to the park prepared. Both she and 20-month-old Jeanne, sport hats and heavy duty sunblock. “55 for her, 30 for me… so, we keep ourselves covered.”
And yes, doctors say babies do need protecting,too.
“My baby has been to Mexico, she’s been to Hawaii, and she’s greased up in sunscreen and she’s protected,” says Sonja Jagwani, MD, North Dallas Dermatology Associates. A Dallas dermatologist, Dr. Sonja Jagwani is also a very protective mom who tells others to not wait until hitting the sun to protect your skin.
“We get to the lake, it takes about a half hour for that sunscreen to start working,” says Dr. Jagwani, “so if you don’t apply before you go to the lake, it’s already too late.”
Dr. Jagwani says she’s seeing younger patients with skin cancer who often think that darker skin or a prior tan protests– it doesn’t. And think a tanning bed is safer? Consider this: doctors say a tanning bed is actually worse than being outside.
In fact, experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center say people who used a tanning bed before age 35, increase their melanoma skin cancer risk by by 75 percent.
“Even once or twice, before dance or before prom that is a risk factor for skin cancer,” adds Dr. Jagwani. “It hits home when you have a friend at school with a huge scar on her back because she had a melanoma cut out at age 20.”
The doctor recommends using cream sunblock first, and then re-apply with the more convenient sprays– but, use it liberally, and often.
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