Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Boise is #1 for skin cancer

According to The Daily Beast, Boise is the number-one skin cancer city. (Based on number of sunny summer days - 51 - and instances of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.) Interesting, and a little disturbing, since I do all of my bike riding in the great out-of-doors.

I haven't heard the mayor, or Chamber of Commerce, excitedly declaring "We're number one!"

Do you sunscreen before a ride? I don't, but probably should. (When I take the granddaughter and we're anticipating being gone for more than an hour or so, we'll grease up. But usually I don't take the time.)

Since I ride year-round, and since the intensity of the sun builds as it gets higher in that summer sky, I rationalize that I get naturally and gradually accustomed to those more intense summer rays. My exposure to direct sunlight is most often limited to an hour or less at a time. And I rarely get sunburned... when I do, it's almost always when I'm working in my garden or some such activity, rather than cycling. (And it's usually my head that gets burned... because when I'm riding, I'm wearing the brain-bucket. The top of my head doesn't get much sunlight at all.)

A good friend, Damon, developed melanoma 15 years or so ago. (He lived in Boise, but moved to the Sacramento area.) It really changed his life... whenever he's outdoors now, it's with a wide-brim hat and long sleeves. He scrupulously avoids direct sunlight whenever possible.


Clancy said...

Just another study/list that twists the data into an uncorroborated report. I would also add that some of those cities have more outdoor recreation opportunities thus more outdoor enthusiast. Outdoor activities are related to less obesity and less heart disease. So we may burn more but are healthier because of it.

Bikeboy said...

Oh, rest assured that it's just one piece of data, Clancy.

There are numerous reasons why Boise's skin cancer rate is probably higher:
1) a more outdoor-oriented populace than many (most?) places (as you said)
2) a demographic that leans toward fair-skinned (and thus more prone to skin cancer)
etc., etc.