Sun safety lessons - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Sun safety lessons

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A recent study finds that despite college students' quest for knowledge, real-world lessons about skin cancer are totally lost on many young adults.

Dr. Corey Basch of William Paterson University in New Jersey surveyed more than 300 students. Seventy-two knew someone diagnosed with skin cancer or even had it themselves, yet those students were more likely to sunbathe and get sunburned, huge risk factors for skin cancer.

"They might perceive that it's something that happens a lot later in life; however, we do see that rates of melanoma in this age group are increasing, and that is the most deadly form of skin cancer," Dr. Basch says. 

The study found a decline in the number of college students visiting tanning salons, but very few consistently and effectively protected themselves from the sun's rays.

Even sunburns in childhood increase the risk of skin cancer and melanoma later in life, making it important to teach safe sun practices as early as possible. 

Sunscreens should have an SPF of at least 15. Some experts say 30 is ideal. They need to be reapplied every few hours. Also, seek out shady areas during midday hours when ultraviolet rays are most intense.

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