LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - You're probably starting to spend more time outside, but are you protected? Proper sun protection is important, especially since local health leaders say there are more and more cases of melanoma on the South Plains.
Most folks know it's important to put on sunscreen when you're headed to the pool or the lake, but it's also important when you're just working in the yard or playing at the park.
"We are exposed to the sun so much more than we think," Nurse Practitioner at the Joe Arrington Cancer Center Darla Porter said.
"There was a whole generation that wanted to bake and didn't know anything about sunscreen. We are way past that generation, because we are seeing more and more melanoma," Porter said.
She explained that melanoma is the worst type of skin cancer you can get, and it's not just affecting sun bathers. "We see lot of skin cancer on the ears in a lot of our farmers, because they wear baseball caps out there, and it's not enough protection," Porter said.
Porter says you need to look for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that blocks both UVA and UVB Rays, and reapplication is essential. "I think sometimes as parents we think we did good because we got it on once, but reapplication is key," Porter said.
Creams seem to stay on better, but Porter says spray sunscreens work just a well as long as you reapply, and don't think tanning beds are better says Porter. "I think if you absolutely must have a tan, spray tans and creams, they gotten so much better," Porter said.
With more melanoma cases popping up in our area, we asked Porter what to look for. She says if you have an existing mole that has changed, if it's bigger than the head of a pencil eraser, or if it's has an irregular shape or color, you should have it checked by your doctor.
Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.