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HEALTHBEAT 4: Cancer center works to protect your skin with sunscreen dispensers

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Sunscreen dispensers cancer center

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- The summer season sends many people outdoors. Whether at the pool or the golf course, it's important to remember to protect your skin.

"Only 1/3rd of the population in the United States uses sunscreen and one in five people will develop some type of skin cancer by the time they are 70," said Skyler McDermott, a summer intern with the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.

Facts like these are something those with the June E. Nylen Cancer Center didn't like to hear. So they took action, working to help you protect your skin with these sunscreen dispensers.

"I think people just want to get that really nice suntan," said McDermott. "They don't want the sunscreen to get in the way of that, or they just forget. Especially kids. They're at the pool, they just want to have a lot of fun and they're not remembering to put on their sunscreen."

So why will you find SPF 30 Sunscreen in the dispensers at pools and golf courses instead of a higher number like 50?

"When you are wearing SPF 50 it gives people the false sense that they need to put it on less and so SPF 30 kind of helps them remember that they need to be putting it on," said McDermott.

The dispensers were funded by employees at the cancer center, but it's a project the Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department quickly jumped on.

"We're always looking for ways to make pools safer and more fun," said John Byrnes, Sioux City Parks and Recreation Supervisor. "Our whole goal is to get people out here and serve as many people as possible and if one of the barriers to coming out and having fun is oh my gosh I can't be outside in the sun for hours on end without being burnt, this is one of those things now, it's just one less thing to worry about."

And while the season was cut short because of COVID-19, Byrnes said they saw a lot of people using those dispensers.

"It has been used so it's a great extra addition to our pools," said Byrnes. "Something that just kind of came out of the blue and now it seems like we just have to have them going forward. It's perfect for us."

While this year was the initial pilot for the program, the cancer center hopes to expand its reach next year, including all the pools and golf courses.

Michaela Feldmann

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