Study finds skin cancer rates rising

Mayo Clinic study finds tanning beds contribute to problem

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With summer just around the corner, it's time to break out the sunscreen as protecting yourself from the sun is especially important this season.

A new study from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found that skin cancer rates are up. Rates for women are eight times higher than they were 40 years ago, and four times higher for men.

The researchers said tanning beds are part of the problem because people think they're safe if they don't get burned. But that isn't true. Experts say you need to stay out of the sun and tanning beds, and always use sunscreen.

"I definitely encourage use of sun screens and again there's a lot of misinformation people don't really understand what the sun protecting factor is," said Dr. Michael Jay Bernhardt from St. Vincent's Hospital. "People don't know that if the sun protecting factor is 50 its not a complete blanket or a shield. That's why I try to encourage people to use as high a number as possible,"

The research shows that 15 minutes a day of sun is good, and allows your body to get the vitamin D that it needs. But if you plan on staying outside for a long period of time, you need to cover up.

"If you're a genetically at risk person use all the steps you can, a hat and a shirt, anything that's going to shield your ears, your forehead and your crown, " said Bernhardt.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published these tips to help you keep your skin safe.

1. Avoid indoor tanning.

2. Seek shade, especially during midday hours.

3. Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.

4. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.

5. Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.

6. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection, and reapply it often throughout the day.

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