WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Iowa ranks ninth in the nation for skin cancer diagnoses per capita.
Healthcare providers at the Cedar Valley Center for Skin Cancer said it’s all about limiting sun-time.
“We have a high population of fair-skinned people. We also have a long history of environmental exposure for things like farming. We’re out in the sun a lot and that cumulative damage to the skin often leads to skin cancers,” said Crystal Wilken, a nurse practitioner specializing in skin cancers.
A map from the CDC shows what states have the highest rates. Kentucky leads the nation in cases.
Wilken said sunscreen can be the most important tool to have in the summer.
“Have at least a 30 SPF sunscreen. Apply that before you go out and about every hour to two hours throughout the day,” she said.
Keeping a bottle of sunscreen in the car might sound like a good idea, but it really isn’t. The interiors of cars can soar well above 100 degrees in the summer. That heat breaks down the chemicals, making a bottle of SPF 30 much less effective.
Wilken said people should always get something checked out that looks out of place on their body.
“Timely identification of any worrisome lesions is very important because the earlier we find it and treat it, the better outcome we can look forward to,” she said.
For example, a mole that might look harmless could be cancer. Wilken said moles that are really dark or have irregular edges should be checked out for good measure.