Too much sun could lead to skin cancer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Too much sun could lead to skin cancer

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March 8, 2006

Albany-- With temperatures in the 80's this weekend and spring holidays coming up, many of you may plan to spend some extra time outdoors. But doctors warn us too much of a good thing could be a bad thing. Skin cancer affects more people than you may think.

"I was mostly working outside," says Herschel Dorsey.

Herschel Darsey remembers several years of working in the oil business. "I think men have a wild attraction to the outdoors," says Darsey. But these days, you can find him mostly inside at a private high school that bears his last name. He serves as principal but also teaches a few lessons of math.

"I like to teach," says Darsey. But his biggest lesson was one that he learned for himself years ago. "Upon examining my back one day in front of a mirror, I found a bright, dark mole," says Darsey.

Turns out it was skin cancer, from what he figures was plenty of time in the sun with his brother. "When we were boys, we just took off our shirts in the summertime and we went all summer long without shirts," says Darsey. Both ended up with cancer. One didn't live to tell about it.

"He didn't catch it in time and it went to his brain and it went to his lungs and in about three years he was dead," says Darey.

"One person every hour dies from melanoma," says dermatologist Dr. Melinda Greenfield.

Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer but all forms of skin cancer are on the rise.   Skin cancer accounts for 50 percent of all cancers. 

"We see more in this part of the country just due to the sun exposure," says Dr. Melinda Greenfield. Dr. Greenfield says the sun plays a big part and protection should start from day one.

"It causes a lot of damage and unfortunately it starts at a very young age," says Greenfield.

Now older, Herschel covers up, goes to the dermatologist every 6 months and wears sunblock. He hopes his story inspires others. "It's such a simple little story. If it can help someone then I'd be very pleased," says Darsey.

And maybe his story will be one well taught from his school. "I believe so. I try to make it a good lesson," says Darsey. Although he works inside now, he has big hopes for the world outside his window.

You can protect yourself by limiting time in the sun, especially during the hours of 10 and 3. Cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Dermatologists also say tanning beds can increase your chances of getting skin cancer.

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