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Mississippians Warned About Threat of Skin Cancer

By Daniel Cherry | Published 14 May 2012 05:53pm | comments

A young woman is 8 times as likely to develop skin cancer today than 40 years ago. A young man is 4 times as likely. That's according to recent report from the Mayo Clinic. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how those fighting cancer in Mississippi are urging others to protect themselves from the sun.

As summertime approaches, thousands of Mississippians will be taking to the outdoors for cookouts, sports, and yard work, but many folks will overlook the serious threat posed by the sun. Jill Holleman of Madison was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of skin cancer in February.

"It was on my face from just below my eye down to the middle of my cheek, so I've got about a 2 1/2 inch scar, but big deal. I'm alive."

The increase in cases among young people is being blamed on the rise in popularity of indoor tanning beds. Holleman says if she could do it over again, she would have protected herself better from the sun in her younger days.

"Just be sure and lather yourself up with sunscreen. It's a lot more important to have a long, blessed life than it is to have a tan for one season."

Skin cancer in most instances, is survivable, if detected early enough. That's why cancer prevention advocate, JeanAnn Reeves with the Jackson branch of the American Cancer Society, urges everyone to do a thorough body check once a month to look for abnormalities.

"If you detect or see a spot on your skin that you're apprehensive about, go see your doctor because early detection is best, but again, wear that sunscreen, wear those sunglasses, and wear that hat."

Prevention specialists advise residents to wear sunscreen, reapply often and limit sun exposure during peak daylight hours.

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