Sun Stress: The dangers of sun damage

Emily Noonan reports on dangers of melanoma

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Despite all the reports on the importance of using sunscreen, melanoma rates are increasing. But why? Meteorologist Emily Noonan took a closer look at the dangers of the sun. 

It's April, and some people think they won't get a sunburn this early in the season. But, what many people do not know is that the angle of the sun on April 25 is the same as it is in August. The temperature doesn't matter.

A sunny, 40 degree day in April could give you the same burn as a 90 degree day in August.

Growing up, Karina Anderson wasn't all that worried about the sun.

"It was after a routine visit to the dermatologist and he removed what looked just barely more than a freckle on my back which I couldn't see, it happened to be a melanoma," said Anderson. 

She never thought something like this could happen to her, especially at her age. But, Dr. Sherrif Ibrahim, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says it doesn't matter the age or color of skin, you are at risk without protection. 

"It used to be reserved for patients later, middle aged, 60's and beyond," said Dr. Ibrahim. "But I see patients all the time now who are in their 20's, 30's, and 40's."
That's because now, it's not just the sun giving these people harmful UV rays. 
"Many of these people were tanning in their teens or going to indoor tanning facilities," said Dr. Ibrahim.
Even if you don't have fair skin, whenever you're going outside, whether it's sunny or not, you should always have protection because everyone is at risk.
Many people think that building a slow tan makes it safe. Dr. Ibrahim says that's far from the truth. 
"There's no such thing as a safe tan," he said. "There's no safety or protection from having a base tan. Burning once at the beginning of the summer and just keeping that tan all throughout the summer just means that you first sustained damage and you're continuing to sustain damage."
Now, Anderson wears sunscreen daily, all year round. Plus, she says she won't let what happened to her happen to her children.
"It's not worth it, life is precious and as I tell my children," said Anderson, "if you can do something to prevent a very serious illness, why wouldn't you do it?"
Doctors recommend getting check-ups and cancer screenings annually. 

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