Cloudy Puget Sound area has high rate of skin cancer

Cloudy Puget Sound area has high rate of skin cancer
Photo shows melanoma on a patient's skin. (Photo by National Cancer Institute)
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Health Department says if the Puget Sound region were a state by itself, it would rank fourth in the nation in skin cancer rate.

The department says that's mainly due to a misconception that the cloudy weather means people don’t have to protect themselves from the sun.

The department says residents should protect themselves from ultraviolet light even on the region's many cloudy days.

Sunburns in childhood are associated with melanoma later in life. That's one reason for a law that went into effect this month in Washington, banning kids under 18 from using tanning beds.

The department says people can help prevent skin cancer by using sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher, by staying in the shade - especially during midday hours - and covering skin with clothing that covers your arms and legs or a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears and neck.