Skin Cancer Cases on the Rise

Summertime means more people spending time outside, and according to the American Cancer Society, the number of skin cancer cases is on the rise.

In fact, more cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than breast, colon, prostate and lung cancers combined.

Kids played in the shade at Ber-Vaughn Park near Berwick. Their mother, Lynette Pursel, said she worries about skin cancer and tries to prevent it from happening to her children.

“Everywhere we go they always have a hat on. They always have sunscreen, we try to stay in the shade,” Pursel said.

According to the United States Surgeon General, nearly five million people are treated each year for skin cancer. To help prevent skin cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a hat and sunglasses while outdoors, and reducing indoor tanning.

It also recommends wearing sunscreen, which is what employees at the Berwick YMCA did at a field trip to the Bloomsburg Town Pool. Staff made sure all 70 children wore sunscreen.

“We’ll do right before we come here and then an hour or so later because sunscreen doesn’t last that long, so 2 p.m. we make our second round,” Brandon Berkes said.

Even though some say they know the risks associated with tanning, they still do it anyway. Those people say it makes them happy.

“It’s just aesthetics, you know? I really like to look nice, you know? Also, it gets rid of tan lines. I hate having tan lines in summer,” Samantha Smitchko said.

The American Cancer Society says indoor tanning causes more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer each year.  Samantha Smitchko said she does worry about skin cancer.

“It is a really big issue. I know several people who have had it. But, you know, it’s one of those things where people are going to keep doing it and I hate to be one of those people,” Smitchko said.

Earlier this year, the government began requiring the UV lamps used at tanning salons to display a strong warning about the potential risks.

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