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Enjoying some web-surfing during the dog days of summer – or “Days of the Dog Star” as the Romans put it – a time of stagnation as Sirius sits near the sun near the end of July marking the hottest days of the year. The Romans had a way of putting things out there, for sure. Hey, they also could be said to have invented fast food by distributing food in the streets for folks on the go. Nice! But I digress.
This month’s topic surrounds the question, “is skin cancer hereditary?” Well, the Huron Daily Tribune took a piece from the “Savvy Senior” (featured periodically on NBCs “Today” show) which took a stab at answering it on a forum. The start of the response is spot on: “highest risk are people with red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, fair skin, freckles, moles, a family history of skin cancer and those who had blistering sunburns in their youth.” The same info is presented in IST Magazine’s Sun is Life® Training & Certification course. However, he then moves on to the oft stated “avoid exposure to the sun between 10am-2pm” mantra. Oy!
Picture a family of four, beat down by inflation, crazy-high gas prices and road rage, finally arriving at a beach or lake vacation destination. Then, Mom and Dad announce, “Kids, it’s 10am – seek shade! Everyone huddle under the rented beach umbrella for the next four hours!”
The question posed was about the link between heredity and skin cancer. Missed was the fact that melanoma can develop on areas of your body that have little or no exposure to the sun, such as between your toes and on your palms, soles of your feet, scalp or genitals. Missed was a statement of reality. For about 7,500 people – mostly elderly – melanoma will be fatal. One death is of course, one too many; but in perspective, that’s .000022% of our population.
It was a great opportunity to share that one still can be at risk of developing melanoma with zero UV exposure, which goes back to answering the question posed. Nope, that ball was dropped (again).
Let’s provide folks with pragmatic suggestions on UV exposure. Realize that the sun’s intensity is high on most summer days and to use and reapply proper SPF, as opposed to avoiding the sun on your hard earned vacay.
For fun, type “John Candy Summer Rental sunburn” into your web browser. I’m often reminded of him in this classic movie when discussing the beach and UV. If you have time, give it a watch. Loaded with grins, especially the bit on an errant toss of a flying disc … enjoy!
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A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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