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Hiking Hazards - Skin Cancer

There are two basic types of skin cancer. Basal cell skin cancer is thought to be caused by the cumulative exposure to the sun over your lifetime. So even if you don't get sunburn, you could possibly get basal cell skin cancer! So always wear a sunscreen whenever you are going to spend any appreciable amount of time outdoors. Melanoma, the other basic type of skin cancer, is caused by damage from sunburn. Don't forget to reapply your sunscreen for long hikes. And don't forget to protect the back of your neck and the back of your ears. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, as well as lip balm are a good idea, too.

According to the CDC, 53,600 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the United States in 2002. 7,400 people died of the disease in that year.

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