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Surgeon General: Skin cancer a public health crisis

Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:13:22 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 31 2014 03:52:53 AM EDT

The Surgeon General is warning people about the dangers of ultraviolet rays. With cancer cases sky-rocketing, Acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak issued a call to action on Tuesday to prevent the disease.

Melanoma, is worst kind of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society says it affects more people than prostate, breast, lung and colon cancers combined. And research shows what you do now, can affect your risk of cancer, later.

"I wish they had made this statement 5 years ago," plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Breiner told WDBJ7.

Earlier this week, Surgeon General, Dr. Boris Lushniak called cancer a major public health problem that requires immediate action. Doctors like Breiner agree.

"It's almost consumed my practice. The amount of melanomas we see Today, at least in my practice is 5 to 7 times the amount of melanomas I saw 10 years ago."

Nearly 5 million people of all ages and races face skin cancer each year. Breiner says with a need so great, he's thinking of almost exclusively treating skin cancer cases.

"I am pretty much going to dedicate my entire practice To the management and treatment of skin cancers, particularly melanomas."

Ultraviolet radiation, is ultra-violet radiation. The damage to your skin is the same whether you're in a tanning bed or lounging by the pool. Something these parents are on top of.

"We wear sunscreen for sure and if we're not taking the kids swimming we make sure they're dressed they're dressed appropriately, sometimes with hats as well," father of three, Brad Nelson, told Your Hometown News Leader.

A smart move since a blistering sunburn at this age, increases your chances of melanoma as an adult.

Breiner agrees that skin cancer is a major, public health concern but, your chances decrease drastically by being proactive.

"Hats, suntan lotion, shirts, something to cover up shade and take breaks from time to time," said Breiner.

Monday, The House passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act making the review process for FDA approval of sun protection products more strict.