A doctor examines a patient for symptoms of skin cancer.

A new study shows Marin County has disproportionately higher numbers of melanoma skin cancer than the rest of the Bay Area. The report from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California noted that melanoma incidence was 60 percent higher in Marin compared to the state as a whole. Experts join us to explain the findings and offer skin safety and screening tips for the summer.

Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit public health and environmental research group
Christina "Tina" Clarke, research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC)
Susan Swetter, professor of dermatology at Stanford University Medical Center

  • thucy

    To paraphrase Spike Lee’s “Cause mo’ better makes it mo’ better”:

    “Cause mo’ white folk makes mo’ money, and mo’ money gets mo’ health care, and mo’ health care makes mo’ diagnoses.”

    Conversely: “mo’ melanin makes mo’ natural UVA/UVB protection.”

    • MG

      t’s called melanin. They took it from african-americans in the 60’s and 70’s because white people don’t produce enough or the correct type to survive on this planet. Proven in science and documented. Do the research. When i mean research i mean more than 1 source

  • Frequentshopper

    Rich white people are more likely to see the right doctor and be diagnosed. Put on sunscreen and wear a hat. Case closed. Waste of Forum time but since Krasny lives in Marin county this is not the first time his hood or his friends who live there have gotten undue air time without full disclosure.

    • Please kindly proceed to YouTube. You’ll find the rest of your troll brethren there.

  • Ben

    I’ve been a huge fan of the new breed of spray-on sunscreens– they are so much easier to apply and without all the mess. Are they as effective as their goopy rub-in counterparts?

    • rreplogle1

      In order to ensure adequate coverage, you need to spray on hands, then rub into skin.

    • Jeremy Goodell

      I’ve seen some bad news about spray-ons. You can read all about it at the Environmental Working Group (ewg) web site.

    • katndog

      Look up natural alternatives. Sprays are TOXIC to breathe in which you do more of when it’s a spray.

  • Lisa Cline

    We are taking a trip to Europe and thought we’d pick up some of their better sunscreen products. What ingredient(s) should we look for? And, what is the shelf life of sunscreen (so how much is worth buying)?

  • Steve

    Our fair-skinned daughters spend a lot of time on the soccer field. For peak hours (10am-4pm) we don’t hesitate to apply sunscreen. For off hours, though, I err on the side of applying (to minimize cumulative sun exposure), whereas my wife errs on the side of not (to minimize exposure to chemicals). How do you see this trade-off between sun versus chemical exposure?

    • DaphneH

      Use the most natural sunscreens like Badger brand (the kids tangerine one smells better than any other sunscreen I’ve tried). Any sunscreen that uses zinc oxide and limits other chemical additives will mitigate the chemical exposure associated with more toxic sunscreen ingredients.
      It is a bit messier than other sunscreens but you get used to it.

  • Masha

    Is it safe to use skin care creams with Retinol (at night) during the summer? If I put on the sunscreen during the day.

  • JJoy

    My pediatrician suggested that I sit out in the sun with my newborn for 15 minutes a day since I’m nursing exclusively, is this something that you suggest?

  • Alice Chenault

    I have 3 internationally adopted grandchildren, 2 from China, 1 from Guatemala. My daughter and son-in-law don’t use sunscreen for the kids, because their skin is medium-brown (not black.) They tan deeply. Should they be using sunscreen?

  • Margaret

    What about vitamin D? We produce it in our skin, and many people now have low leverls. A recent study by Bruce Ames has linked Vitamin D with autism, in other words, autism may be higher because the lack of Vitamin D in some individuals, and vitamin D is important in bone strength, and many other diseases including cancer.

  • Maryam

    Thank you for this show! I have two questions:

    1. How effective are the brush on sunscreens? My kids love them, and are much more eager to have me apply those on their faces than the California Baby stick or creams.

    2. My very fair-skinned daughter is going to Europe this summer and will be in the sun quite a bit. What sun screens should she be buying when she is there to get the best protection?

    p.s. sorry if that sounds over-privileged, but we have a history of melanoma on my side of the family and this topic is of great interest!

  • Lisa Wayne

    I am also concerned with the chemical factor of sunscreens. All day everyday on the largest organ in your body? I think not, especially if the FDA can’t get to european standards of what is safe.

  • Kit

    I know irregularities in size/shape are warning signs. I have a smsll heart shaped mole on my chest. I have been watching it for a couple years and no cganges have occurred. Should I get it checked out anyway?

  • Paul Blumenthal

    Just like anything else, isn’t there a baseline genetic predisposition to skin cancer or melanoma?

  • Doug

    My mother used to get an injection in the 60’s and 70’s (she was really light) that allowed her to tan extremely quickly and it then seemed to allow her to avoid burns and getting the moles and blotches she got without this. What was that injection and why don’t we give that any longer?

    • MG

      it’s called melanin. They took it from african-americans in the 60’s and 70’s because white people don’t produce enough or the correct type to survive on this planet. Proven in science and documented. Do the research. When i mean research i mean more than 1 source.

  • steve

    What about those of us that work in greenhouses? Do wee need extra protection?

    • Robert Thomas

      Glass transmits UVA poorly and is an effective block for shorter wavelengths. Are your greenhouse roofs glass? Polycarbonates and other transparent polymers are also UV blockers, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

  • Wally Wolk

    Is sun exposure and the link to cancer related to thinning of the atmosphere? Are the rates of cancer growing or are they stable?

    • Dee Kay

      Coming from Australia where melanoma rates are amongst the highest in the world (my father died of it at age 35), I;m sure the hole in the ozone layer certainly had an impact in the southern hemisphere. If you want to stay and go out to play, also investigate long sleeved UPF 50+ fabric tops and hats.

    • katndog

      YES it is! However we cannot avoid the sun. We need it to develop Vit D on our skin. At least 15 minutes of full exposure, then no shower or washing for several hours after. This sun exposure PREVENTS CANCER. Look up Dr. Mercola and read his blogs.

  • Sarah Shriver

    I am a woman living in Marin county diagnosed with Melanoma in-situ. Currently the ingredient suggested by dermatologists is helioplex, what about that? I reiterrate the notion that sunscreen comes in small quantities and costs way too much if we are expected to use it as often as you suggest.

  • Denise

    So one sided about the extreme use of sun screen. Try eating a better diet with natural sun screen nutriants and getting about 20 minutes a day to get “natural” vitamin D. So much better than a supplement. The doctor didn’t cover how healthy the Marin folks are in comparison to other groups. It would be closer to the standard american diet then most would think. So many factors to health and this seemed to be to narrow.

  • DaphneH

    Environmental Working Group (www.ew. org)

  • DaphneH

    Environmental Working Group (www.ewg. org) is a great resource for sunscreen information. It also has a large database listing the most effective, least toxic sunscreens.

  • L.A. Blythe

    There are excellent, cute swimwear products out there that cover. My son wears a long sleeve rash guard, my daughter a neck to ankle suit. Her suit is by Coolibar and has lasted 2 years with near daily use in summer. Chlorinated swimming once a week. Cheaper than sunscreen, and more effective. I have found Coolibar and Tuga to be tough and well made products.

  • K.

    Low frequencies and wireless and magnetic fields equal illness such as melanoma, leukemia. Please mention this in the articles you write to let people remember this. Here is petition on topic: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/495/323/027/reduce-disabling-wireless-emfs/

  • Margaret

    There is a greater incidence of autism among Somalians who have moved to higher latitudes, where they do not make enough Vitamin D. Bruce Ames at the CHORI institute associated with Children’s Hospital in Oakland has recently published research that shows that vitamin D is involved with the production of serotonin and oxytocin in the brain. Serotonin has to do with social skills, and oxytocin has to do with socializing as well. You don’t need to be in the sun to get vitamin D, but can use supplements, but if people want to stay healthy in a lot of ways, they should have their vitamin D tested, especially if they are dark-skinned, obese, live in high latitudes, or avoid the sun.

  • MG

    The real issue is that Marin county for decades has had a high rate of breast cancer. Look it up. It’s the water or the Air up there. I’m south bay thats why i say up there.

  • Frequentshopper

    wiki defines troll as “extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

    Sorry, but these are comments meant for airing if posted before the show is over as mine, not yours, was. I have no interest in provoking an emotional response out of KQED comment readers. Apparently you do with your name calling. As for off topic, my comment was not off topic from all previous comments. Yours is. It is not off topic as to the relevance of the dubious findings of a study conducted by an organization that gets more funding by apparently announcing alarming and inaccurate or at least unproven conclusions. The parts that were of possible value of thus topic could have been presented in a 5-10 minute discussion, max, not 1 hour. Presenting it as if the location was causing higher rates of cancer as opposed to higher rates of diagnosis was an off putting and sensationalistic disservice to cancer prevention.

    I wanted to get a response from Krasny and the powers that be at KQED radio since my attempts to get any response in the past via email have not succeeded. Krasny’s decision to respond on air that my original comment was “rude” while dismissing it by lumping it with comments not even made during this show makes anything that proves the facts mentioned in it relevant. I guess donating $200 to one of KQEDs radio shows (with no perks offered) doesn’t even get me a boilerplate response to an email to KQED radio management.

    Krasny has on several occasions neglected his full disclosure obligations when they are relevant to the topic and no I am not talking about being Jewish cause we can easily figure out that he is. I recently heard an NPR host feel it necessary to reveal he is gay just because he was doing a gay related story on radio. The first time Krasny got my attention for my not hearing a full disclosure about the relevant matter of living in Marin County was when he did the Restoring Mount Tamalpais piece and the KQED website had the following sensationalist propagandist intro designed to get the government to spend millions to destroy important historical archeology from the early cold war.

    “In 1951 the military bulldozed Mount Tamalpais’s west peak to put in a radar station and barracks for 300 people. Six decades later, the military installation has long been abandoned, but remnants of the structures, power lines, pipes and construction debris remain on the 106-acre stretch of mountaintop. “The Invisible Peak,” a short documentary about the junk perched on Mount Tamalpais, has raised the call for cleanup.”

    These people if they had lived in the Hawaiian Islands during WWII would have had the government spend millions to raise and scrap the Arizona because it is an eyesore to scuba divers. They illegally took it upon themselves to start demolishing the historic buildings without permission and not knowing they had asbestos. Expect multi-million dollar lawsuits when the first one gets some unrelated lung disease.

  • Rooftop Mountain

    I’m wondering if there is more to skin cancer than bad sun exposure. If it’s higher in Marin, it sounds environmental. Pesticides, water, radioactivity, etc.

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