Despite the proliferation of sunscreens, now found in everything from make-up to hair products, the number of people diagnosed with melonoma rose a startling 64 percent from 2015. And in 2014, 100 of every 100,000 people died as a result of melanoma, up from 1.6 per 100,000 in 1973. The incidence of melonama increased faster than any other type of cancer during the same period of time.
This incease is puzzling considering that the danger of developing skin cancer from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays has been much publicized. Numerous studies have documented the ability of sunscreens to reduce the possibility of sun damage and subsequent skin cancer. Who isn’t getting the message?
Health officials are placing much of the blame on the persistent popularity of tanning and (gulp) outdoor exercisers. Even as exercisers are doing their bodies a favor by staying active, they are ruining their skin by neglecting to apply sunscreen. Experts recommend a liberal application of waterproof sunscreen every few hours during outdoor exercise. Don’t expect a light T-shirt or a visor to keep you protected. If possible, avoid the “burning” hours of 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. — the sun is at its peak then and ultraviolet rays are the most damaging.
So enjoy your outdoor workouts, but remember to protect yourself from the sun and avoid becoming one of the 65,000 individuals who will be diagnosed with melanoma this year alone.
Daryl Conant, M.Ed.