Recently I attended the Florida Pool & Spa Show with Rhonda J. Wilson, our managing editor.
We were standing at our booth when a young man with a shaved head walked up and began chatting about his experiences servicing pools.
“Be sure to use sun protection out there,” Rhonda said.
The man made vague shooing motions with his hands. “Yeah, yeah,” he replied.
“No, really.” I looked at the deep tan on his head, face and arms. “You don’t want to get skin cancer.”
He began flipping through a magazine. “I use sunscreen. It’s all good,” he said.
Rhonda and I explained that sunscreen might not be enough. But before we could get into how to protect himself, the man’s eyes glazed over, and he walked away.
He should have listened. Melanoma — a deadly form of skin cancer — is on the rise. And the more time you spend in the sun, the higher your chances of contracting the disease.
This is also true for other less fatal, but still serious, forms of skin cancer. In fact, in a recent Pool & Spa News survey, a staggering 24 percent of respondents reported that someone in their company had been diagnosed.
Sadly, the man visiting our booth is not alone in shrugging off the danger. Many industry members don’t understand the gravity of this issue, and that not taking it seriously could cost them their lives.
That’s why we decided to publish an in-depth feature examining the disease itself, risk factors, and what the industry is doing to raise awareness. During his month-long research for the article, reporter Bob Dumas spoke with a number of pool professionals who beat the odds and survived melanoma. He also consulted dermatologists, cancer experts and industry associations.
The result is a fascinating, scary, highly readable article that got me carefully checking the label on my sunscreen bottle. Hope it does the same for you.