RYE, N.Y. ? With the official start of summer just a little more than a week away, Greenwich Hospital dermatologist Dr. Lynne Haven spoke to residents of the greater Rye area earlier this week about the hazards of venturing out unprotected into the summer sun.
Haven said that skin cancer is the No. 1 fastest-growing epidemic and most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 3.5 million skin cancers in over 2 million people are diagnosed annually.
Haven said that while awareness has certainly grown since the 1950s, there is still more work to be done.
"I think public educaton is so important," Haven said. "That's why I do these talks."
New Food and Drug Administration guidelines focusing on relabeling traditional and water-resistant sunscreens aim to help consumers make the safe choice. Haven said that, starting in 2013, bottles labeled "Broad Spectrum" will denote better overall protection.
Aside from sunscreen, Haven recommends using cover-ups, UV sunglasses and avoiding both artificial tanning beds and tanning in the sun. While staying protected and out of the sun is a good way to stay safe in the summer, Haven also spoke about some people's genetic disposition to skin cancer.
"Genetic factors can play a big role, but we can't change our genes," Haven said. "We inherit them, so it's about focusing more on what we can do something about."
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