Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sunburn Now, Skin Cancer Later?

Why using sunscreen could be a matter of life or death.

This holiday weekend, it's more important than ever to slather the kids with sunscreen if you get out into the sun. Did you know having just ONE sunburn as a child more than doubles your chances of getting skin cancer as an adult? It's scary that a little sun damage now could cost your child his or her life later. May is skin cancer awareness month, so we talked to one family who lost a husband and a father to the deadly disease.

Momlogic: When was your husband diagnosed with skin cancer?

Rhonda: At age 27, he had a mole on his back that started changing shape and color. He had a biopsy and it came back as skin cancer. For the next two years, we didn't change our lifestyle much, we just stayed out of the sun and he had the mole removed. He was given a clean bill of health -- he was a young guy and the doctor said he was 95% cured, and to go live his life. But two years later, about a month before I found out I was pregnant with our third child, he was diagnosed with melanoma. The doctors told us Darren had a death sentence. Despite aggressive treatment that included chemo and two surgeries, he passed away two years later.

Momlogic: What is your message to moms?

Rhonda: I want to raise awareness about the potential dangers of the sun. Before Darren passed away, we talked about how to keep our kids safe from sunburn. We learned when you get one sunburn as a kid, it doubles your chances of getting skin cancer as an adult. Three years ago, I started UV Skinz, a company that sells swim shirts that provide 98% protection from UV rays. This is something you throw on your kid, it's chemical-free, and you don't have to worry about reapplying lotions every few hours. Despite losing my husband to skin cancer, I still want my kids to enjoy the sun. I just want them to do it safely.

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