DERMATOLOGISTS SURVEY SHOWS SKIN CANCER RISING
AS PATIENTS FAIL TO PRACTUCE SUN SAFETY
MINNEAPOLIS April 20, 2004 -- Skin cancer incidence levels are continuing to rise in the U.S. as even patients who have been diagnosed with skin cancer fail to take adequate sun protection steps to limit exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, the most important factor in the development of skin cancer, according to a survey of dermatologists attending the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.
"Dermatologists report a dramatic increase in the number of people with skin cancer," said John Barrow, founder and president of Coolibar. "We will continue to see these increases until the public get the message that protecting their skin is a must."
More than three-fourths (77 percent) of dermatologists surveyed said skin cancer is increasing in their practices, while 23 percent said the skin cancer rate remains unchanged among their patients. "Significantly, not a single dermatologist among the 312 respondents reported a decrease in skin cancer incidence in their practices," Barrow noted.
Sun Protective Clothing for Skin Cancer Prevention
Dermatologists also say less than one-in-three (30 percent) of their skin cancer patients take adequate sun protection steps. Almost 90 percent of dermatologists recommended sun protective clothing to their patients.
"Dermatologists are looking for the best way to help their patients and are frustrated by their patients' failure to use sunscreen properly," said Barrow. "For sunscreen to provide adequate protection, users must apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover an adult and reapply it every 2 hours."
"Most people simply don't use enough sunscreen or reapply it often enough and dermatologists see sun protective clothing as a way to avoid this problem," Barrow added.
Federal Risk Standards
Another concern with sunscreens was that dermatologists felt it was extremely important for the FDA to add ultraviolet radiation-A (UVA) into sun protection factor (SPF) ratings. Currently, the SPF of a product tells how much longer the user can stay in the sun with the sunscreen and have the same effect from ultraviolet radiation-B (UVB) as without the sunscreen. So, SPF ratings currently only address UVB protection levels. UVA protection has not been formally integrated into SPF ratings but sunscreen manufacturers commonly include a general comment about UVA protection on their product labels.
UVA radiation, which contributes to skin aging, eye damage, and immune suppression as well as potentially contributing to skin cancer, varies according to the time of day and season, and to a much lesser extent, to latitude. UVB intensity varies in cycles according to the time of day, season, latitude and altitude. In contrast to sunscreen, sun protective clothing typically carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) label that rates protection against both UVA and UVB. So UVA protection is already built into the ratings used on sun protective clothing.
Coolibar was founded in 2001 to bring Australia's world-leading approaches to sun protection to the American market. The company has extensively redesigned Australian sun protective clothing styles to meet the tastes and needs of fashion- and health-conscious Americans.
For information about Coolibar, go to www.coolibar.com or call 1-800-926-6509.