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Wearing sunscreen every day may prevent skin cancer

Sunburn can cause skin damage and lead to skin cancer.
Sunburn can cause skin damage and lead to skin cancer.
Beatrice Murch

Dr. Richard Yamamoto, a Torrance-based dermatologist was preparing to biopsy a crusty, recurring growth on his patient's left forearm, when she asked him to tell her the single most important thing people can do to prevent skin cancer.  "Wear sunscreen" was his reply.   He went on to explain that the sun is an "equal opportunity" burner.  It does not matter if you are lying in the sand at the beach, or driving around town with your arm exposed out of the car window.  The sun's UV rays will damage your skin just as badly in either situation.  Over time, the damage can cause changes to occur in the cells of your skin, and those changes may develop into pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratosis; rough, crusty growths that must be  frozen and/or removed by the doctor to prevent them from becoming skin cancer.  And although rare, some skin cancers can be deadly.  The National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be over one-million new cases of skin cancer in the United States in 2010. 

Dr. Yamamoto recommends that everyone apply sunscreen, every single day; no matter what their plans are, no matter what the weather looks like - even in the wintertime - to help prevent skin cancer.