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Winter sun protection.

If you pack away your sunscreen with your bathing suits in the winter, you may want to reconsider. Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of malignant melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, doubled among whites between 1973 and 1994. Furthermore, melanoma is more common than any non-skin cancer among people between 15 and 29 years old. Although African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at lower risk, they too can develop skin cancer. Overall, one American an hour dies from melanoma, a disease which is largely preventable.

Winter doesn't necessarily signal a break from sun exposure, especially for those who exercise outdoors. UV rays penetrate clouds and overcast skies, and reflect off water, cement, sand, and snow. Mid-day rays are always the strongest, no matter what time of year. Some of the most common sites of skin cancer lesions are the areas of the body that endure year round exposure, such as the hands, face, ears, and the left arm of drivers.

So even in the dead of winter make a healthy habit of using sunscreen on your hands and face, wear a hat with a brim, and use sunglasses. Remember that you'll get the added benefit of remaining unwrinkled way beyond your tan-loving counterparts. For more information, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at wwn.cdc.gov/ChooseYourCover.
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Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Words:232
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