Northwest Waters urges all to guard against melanoma while on the water

The Northwest Wisconsin Waters Consortium is working to increase awareness of the risk of melanoma. Because our time enjoying Wisconsin’s lakes often has people out in the sun for long periods of time, and because the reflective quality of the water magnifies the amount exposure we receive, it is very important that we protect ourselves against this potentially fatal health threat. Waldo Asp is the President of this consortium of countywide lake management groups representing 10 counties. He recommends that, before going out on the water, we consider these important health facts:

1. There are over a million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year outnumbering the total number of all other cancers combined.
2. Over ten thousand Americans die every year, primarily from melanoma and this is more than one person every hour.
3. The costs of treatment annually is over 1 billion dollars, however the emotional and physical costs are incalculable.
4.  Less than one third of our children are protected from too much sun exposure at home, school and at the lake!
5.  Melanoma is the fastest increasing cancer among young women. This has been attributed to the rise in use of tanning salons.
6. Doctors rarely find melanomas. The patient usually does.  Therefore, practice self-examination regularly.
7. Those born this year have a 1 in 50 chance of getting melanoma.
8. Men have the highest death rate for melanoma due to late detection.
9. Melanoma is the easiest cancer to screen for and detect early, but it is also the least screened-for cancer.

The Northwest Wisconsin Waters Consortium urges everyone to:

  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 am and 4pm;
  • Always use a high spf sunscreen;
  • Reapply sunscreen every one to two hours or more often when sweating or swimming;
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat, tightly woven clothing and sunglasses;
  • Protect your children. Set a good example for them;
  • Seek shade when outdoors. Avoid tanning parlors and sunlamps.

“It is especially important to teach youngsters that mid-summer sunlight needs to be enjoyed in moderation,” said Asp. “Limiting our exposure to direct sunlight during the middle of the day and using sunscreen are just common sense.”

Northwest waters hopes that all your time spent on the water is relaxing, rewarding and safe. Enjoy our northwest Wisconsin waters, but do it safely!