Surgeon general issues skin cancer warning - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Surgeon general issues skin cancer warning

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Skin cancer rates are on the rise, according to the surgeon general. (Source: CNN) Skin cancer rates are on the rise, according to the surgeon general. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - Summertime means vacations to the beach and long hours at the pool and that can also mean a ton of exposure to the sun. On Tuesday, the U.S. surgeon general issued a new warning to Americans about the dangers of skin cancer, calling it a "major public health problem."

There was no parsing of words. The surgeon general said all tanned skinned should be considered as damaged skin and that everyone should stop all sorts of tanning immediately.

Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year. That is more than cases of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, hitting 63,000 people a year in the U.S.; 9,000 people die from it annually.

The surgeon general, also known as the nation's doctor, says this trend has to stop. Dr. Boris Lushniak, the acting surgeon general said Americans must change the social norms about tanning. Most notably, he says we need to shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health.

The new recommendations are for all individuals of all skin colors: to minimize sun exposure; use sunscreen of at least SPF 15 very liberally by applying thick and often; wear hats; and get in the shade.

And there are also goals for communities to decrease the risk, like providing shade at places like schools and businesses.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

  • How does the surgeon general's warning affect your view on tanning?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Not at all, pass the baby oil.
    15%
    3 votes
    A little. I will use some sun block, but I'm still going to tan.
    40%
    8 votes
    A lot. No more tanning for me.
    45%
    9 votes
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