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Why sunscreen isn't just for summer - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why sunscreen isn't just for summer

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Dr. Glenn Goldman Dr. Glenn Goldman
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

School is back in session and in the minds of many, that means an end to summer and the need for sunscreen.

"I start forgetting about it more. I forget after Labor Day," said Tom Baggott of Burlington.

Reporter Bridget Barry Caswell: Probably pretty common, hunh?

Tom Baggott: Yeah, I would imagine it is. You start getting ready for winter.

But doctors say back to school doesn't mean you should put your sunscreen on the back shelf.

"So people should still wear their sunscreen, particularly if they're going to be out for a few hours. It will take longer to get burned now than it does in the summertime, but it will still happen if you're out for a while-- on those hike and skiing days," said Dr. Glenn Goldman, a dermatologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

The sun is less intense, but it's still there, and Goldman says an accumulation of sunburns over time can cause skin cancer, including melanoma-- the most dangerous form. That's a fact not lost on Peggy Stevens of Burlington, who wears sunscreen every day, not matter what the season.

"No, I do not change a habit. I put it on every time I head out the door-- a half hour before I put it on. Halfway through tennis I check and make sure it's on. No, every day," Stevens said.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in young people today and Vermont rates are 60 percent higher than the rest of the country.

Bridget Barry Caswell: My understanding is Vermont has the highest rate of new cancers in the country. Why is that?

Dr. Glenn Goldman: There are a couple of reasons for that. The main reason is we have a very, very fair population and people who are fair, have blue eyes, red hair, blonde hair-- have a much higher incidence of skin cancer. The other is that we are a healthy group of individuals who are very active outdoors and so people who ski and play tennis, golf, bike ride and run and go out on sail boats tend to have more skin cancers that those people who are sedentary and stay inside all day.

And while cutting-edge techniques help detect the spread of skin cancer and remove it, it still kills any time of year. So doctors say no matter what the season, keep the sunscreen handy and use it.

Fletcher Allen recently received a new, more stringent accreditation for its MOHS procedure. That's a type of surgery that removes skin cancers with a high cure rate and minimal cosmetic damage.

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