Age for skin cancer victims falls - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Age for skin cancer victims falls

May 20, 2005

Albany- "I think a little bit of sun's good for kids, usually, but I try to keep 40 SPF, 45 SPF on him," said Jenni Carpenter, a parent.

But, how much is too much. A recent study shows skin cancer is increasing for people in their 20s and 30s, especially the deadliest of all, melanoma. So many say they either forget or just don't see the harm in not putting sunscreen on.

"Not every time, maybe if I'm out for a long period I might, but usually not," said 15 year old Skyler McCrary.

"Occasionally, I think about it. I hope it doesn't, but if it does I'll have to suffer the consequences," said 19 year old Kayla McCrary.

"I think we see folks, younger folks particularly, taking the sun for granted, think the sun's not going to affect them and it probably won't until later in life. As we're seeing in these studies, it's occurring more and more frequently at an earlier age," said Dr. Walter Erhardt Jr, Plastic surgeon.

Dr. Erhardt says, he sees a lot of skin cancer patients because lifestyle puts us outside a lot. It also has to do with the amount of time you spend in the sun throughout your life.

"The effect of the sun is a cumulative thing, we all have a certain amount of resistance that our skin can withstand. Once you reach that point that's when you have problems," said Erhardt.

So it's important to have protection as a child and continue the habit.

"That's my granddaughter from Macon, and she's very fair, so yes, I put this on her. I put a lot of it on her," said Diane Howell, grandmother.

The best thing if the weather allows is to keep covered, but a sunscreen with a SPF of 25 or higher will help. You should apply the sunscreen about a half hour before you're out in the sun and reapply if you've been in the water.

Dr. Erhardt recommends a product called Bullfrog for young children. For adults, Titanium Dioxide is a new product that offers total sun protection like a zinc oxide, but it's colorless.

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