KKTV 11 News | Colorado Springs, Pueblo | 11 For Health

Skin Cancer Awareness in CO - What You Need to Know

By: Stacia Naquin Email
By: Stacia Naquin Email

Steve Oimoen enjoys getting out and working in the yard.

"It's nothing to be out here 8 hours, 9 hours on a sunny day and the sun just beating on ya," Oimoen says.

It's a big concern for Steve, because he is a skin cancer survivor. He has had 18 surgeries on his arm and nose.

"Probably about 10 years ago, 8 yrs ago when i first noticed,” says Oimoen. “I thought it was just a skin irritation. And found out it was the basil cell."

Dr. Vinh Chung is with Vanguard Dermatology and Skin Care Specialists. He says Oimoen's story is more and more common and patients are getting younger and younger.

"We're seeing patients younger than 40, a lot of young ladies," said Dr. Chung.

That's a big concern because, Dr. Chung says here in Colorado, we're at an increased risk.

First, we love to be outdoors. We also enjoy 300 days of sun and because of the altitude, we're closer to the sun.

"We have 1 mile less of atmosphere to protect us from the uv radiation,” says Dr. Chung. “So you can combine all these factors and it's no surprise that we get more skin cancer than probably anywhere else around the world."

Steve Oimoen is doing his best to cut down on his skin cancer chances.

“If i go outside now, it's with a hat and if i'm outside doing any yardwork,” he says. “It's putting the 70 sunblock on."

Those are things Dr. Chung says we should all do to protect ourselves.

We also talked to Dr. Chung about a new study that was released this week. It claimed sunscreen could actually accelerate cancer.

Dr. Chung tells us he, along with the American Academy of Dermatology, stand by the use of sunscreen to help protect against skin cancer.

The study came from the environmental working group. He says it was an animal study and may or may not apply to people.

Dr. Chung offered this analogy: “One should think of sunscreens the way we think of seatbelts. Wearing a seatbelt can save your life. However, it does not prevent every single injury in a car accident. Just because you wear a seatbelt does not mean that you should speed or drive recklessly, because such a behavior may lead to an injury from which the seatbelt cannot protect. Sunscreens, like seatbelts, are wonderful ways to protect oneself when combined with responsible behavior.”

For more with Dr. Chung and Vanguard Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists, click on the link below:


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