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.
Return to Hiking Hazards.