June 25, 2008

Sunscreen Saves Skin: City Pool Patrons Are Encouraged to Use It

By Gina Kinslow, Glasgow Daily Times, Ky.

Jun. 25--GLASGOW -- Lifeguards at the Glasgow City Pool are urged to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays while on duty.

"We also provide it for any patron who asks to use some," said Piper Lindsey, pool manager.

The pool's staff also keeps sunscreen with an SPF of 50 on hand for children.

"We believe the higher the (SPF) number, the more it is going to protect them," Lindsey said.

Too much sun can damage the skin and lead to skin cancer.

One way to keep from developing skin cancer is to avoid sun exposure by staying indoors, but if being outdoors is necessary Dr. John Benge with the University of Louisville/TJ Samson Family Medicine Center in Glasgow urges people to avoid the period of day when the sun is the strongest.

"If you are going to be out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., this is when sunlight is the most intense, you should wear hats, long pants, or use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or above," he said.

Benge also recommends applying sunscreen often.

"Especially, if you are swimming, or out at the beach, or the lake," he said.

The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

"Melanoma is definitely the most aggressive and the most serious, but the others can be caused by (too) much sun exposure," Benge said.

Melanoma begins in the melanocytes. Because most of the cells still make melanin, melanoma tumors are often brown or black and often appear on the trunk of fair-skinned men and the lower legs of women, according to the American Cancer Society's Web site.

Basal cell cancer begins at the lowest layer of the epidermis, which is very thin and protects the deeper layers of the skin and organs. About three out of four skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas. They usually begin on areas exposed to the sun such as the head and neck, the ACS Web site said.

Squamous cell cancer begins in the upper part of the epidermis and ac-counts for one to three out of 10 skin cancers. It usually appears on the face, ear, neck, lips and the backs of hands, the ACS Web site said.

A person may suspect they have skin cancer if they have a mole that is getting bigger, changing color, has irregular borders or bleeds.

"Those are the kind of big things to keep in mind," Benge said. "Basal cell has a kind of a unique appearance. it has kind of a dome-shaped lesion with increased blood vessels inside. Squamous cell is usually kind of similar to melanoma. They can be a crusty brown lesion that is getting bigger."

Anyone who thinks they may have skin cancer, Benge said, should talk to their doctor immediately.

A biopsy will usually reveal whether the lesion is malignant or not, he said.

All skin cancers can be removed surgically, but some may require additional treatment.


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