With all the sunshine in Southern Utah and the hot summer temperatures, is there more cases of skin cancer in our area? Do residents of St. George and surrounding areas find themselves in some kind of epidemic or are rates similar for the rest of the state? 

I recently went through a procedure to remove melanoma on my head. It was caught early and even though I had to go through a couple procedures to remove it, it wasn’t too invasive, and the offending skin has been removed. I am now healing up and free of the cancer. 

I talked to Dr. Cardon with Southern Utah Ear Nose Throat and Facial Plastics. He said there is more skin cancer in Southern Utah, but it doesn’t appear to be a result of the sun as much as the demographics. “We see a lot of people who come here later on in life, and they have more chances to accumulate skin cancer.” said Cardon. “I don’t see a lot of kids with skin cancer. Even kids growing up here that swim every day.” 

It’s possible we are more aware of the heat and are more careful in Southern Utah. Perhaps parents are more diligent applying sun block, but the research is just not conclusive. “I did some of that research, and I had great data for the state of Utah, and it was hard to say,” he said.

There is one thing Dr. Cardon does know and that is you can block harmful UV rays with higher SPF. “Put on your sunscreen, wear a big hat,” said Cardon. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 


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