Preventing Skin Cancer

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By Christyn Allen

ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – We’ve had several sunny weeks this summer, and many of us have already gotten sunburnt or a little bit of a tan.

Sun exposure though can lead to skin cancer, and that’s why UPMC Hamot hosted a screening for skin cancer at the Bayfront Sheraton.

“We’ve been out fishing, trying to catch some fish, but no luck,” said Erie visitor, Keegan McChesney.

Even though there’s been some relentless days so far, not everyone has taken precautions to protect their skin. McChesney says even though he spends hours in the sun, he doesn’t burn, so he’s not wearing sunscreen.

That’s a common thought process. Some people look at wearing SPF as no big deal. Experts say even though you may be enjoying a deep suntan now, that could cause major problems down the road. “It takes years, decades, for all the damage to manifest,” said Dr. Jay Kang, Chief of Plastic Surgery at UPMC Hamot.

“There are going to be some individuals who are at high risk no matter what. Someone who has blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, or spends a lot of time in the sun, they’re at more risk than a lot of other individuals,” said Dr. Kang.

“I have ruined my skin from the sun, so I’m going to try to take care of it from now on,” said cancer survivor, Deborah Craig. She just beat a rare form of cancer internally, so warding off preventable disease anyway she can is a priority.

Dr. Kang says most forms of skin cancer can be prevented, especially, if you take precaution sooner rather than later.

“If we can break habits in our teens, twenties, it can make a difference down the road,” he said.

Wearing SPF 30+, wearing wide brim hats, and limiting your sun exposure can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer.


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