Protecting your children from sunburns in summer months

Protecting your children from sunburns in summer months
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The danger of sunburns leading to skin cancer was highlighted in a new study.

The study, published in the journal "Epidemiology," found as few as five sunburns can increase the risk for a melanoma by 80 percent - something parents and grandparents need to remember as kids are now outside instead of in class.

"The key is avoiding those extreme burns, especially for your little children that are out there," said Dr. Steve Samuels with St. Francis Internal Medicine. "It's those cumulative burns that add up over time. It's the burn you get when you are a kid that is a severe burn that may lead to the melanoma 30, 40 years later so you want to avoid getting that severe sunburn at all costs."

Dr. Samuels recommends sunscreen of at least 30 SPF, and for you to be aware of the ABC's of classic signs of skin cancer:

A - Asymmetry. If you were to fold your blemish in half, would one side be larger than the other?
B - Border. You want the border to be smooth, not irregular.
C - Color. One color is preferred; When you have brown, white and/or red colors combined, that is concerning.
D - Diameter. Anything over 6 millimeters should be checked by a doctor.
E - Evolution. Does the blemish seem to be changing?

Dr. Samuels calls it the "ugly duckling" rule: if you have a skin lesion that looks distinctly different from any other, you should get it checked out. Early detection greatly improves outcomes.