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Skin cancer most preventable, yet rates up

June 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM

DALLAS, June 20 (UPI) -- Ultraviolet overexposure from sunlight or tanning beds is easily preventable, but skin cancer's incidence rates continue to rise, a U.S. dermatologist says.

Dr. Gabriela Blanco of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said the incidence of melanoma -- the most lethal form of skin cancer -- among people ages 15-29 has grown 800 percent for women and 400 percent for men in the last four decades.

Risk factors include a family history of melanoma, fair skin, light-colored eyes and hair, and a high number of moles on the body, Blanco said.

"When outside, people do not need to use different sunscreens," Blanco said in a statement. "Scientific data has demonstrated that products with an SPF of 15 or higher reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, in addition to helping prevent sunburn."

To protect from the sun, Blanco recommended:

-- Apply sunscreen daily to all exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. Physical blockers, containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, provide the broadest coverage.

-- Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds.

-- Wear protective clothing, sunglasses and wide-brim hats. Bathing suits and clothing with Ultraviolet Protective Factor also can enhance protection against the sun.

-- Seek shade and remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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