Sunscreen use urged as more skin cancer cases identified

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Now that summer’s officially in full swing, families are spending more time outside.

But not protecting yourself from the sun could put you in danger.

Dr. Kate Viola says over the past year her team at Henry Ford Allegiance Health has diagnosed more than 300 cases of skin cancer.

“That is a very high number for such a short amount of time,” Dr. Viola said.

Dr. Viola is the medical director of Henry Ford Allegiance Dermatology.

She says a majority of the cases were related to sun exposure.

“This is something that can be prevented,” Dr. Viola said.

Dr. Viola says sun damage can happen in any type of weather all year round, so it’s important to protect yourself using hats, clothes and the right type of sunscreen.

She says a sunscreen with a SPF of between 30 and 60 will provide plenty of protection.

“Once you hit these products that say 110 or 85, it’s actually more of marketing technique. Because the percentage of sun protection is much more limited there,” Dr. Viola said.

The doctor says products with zinc and titanium can provide more protection.

She also says these habits should start early in life.

Children who don’t wear sunscreen or protective clothing are at a greater risk for skin cancer as adults.

“Children should have sunscreen reapplied every 1 and a half to two hours.  And it should be a zinc or titanium based,” Dr. Viola said.

The dermatologist worries people in Jackson County aren’t getting the message about sun protection.

But a family 6 News found enjoying the day at the Cascades Falls Park says things are changing.

“Every day they do sun block,” said Theresa Dawson, a mother from Jackson. “We do a special stick for the face and then a spray for their arms and legs. There’s more of an awareness these days.”

The doctor says now is the time to change old habits.

“I can’t stress that enough. It’s never too late to start wearing sunscreen,” Dr. Viola said.

For more information on keeping your family safe from the sun visit this link: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs

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