Washington, D.C. Tops 'Sun Smart' Ranking by Dermatologists' Group

Observing May as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, the American Academy of Dermatology released a ranking yesterday of 32 U.S. cities according to how "sun smart" their residents provided to be when surveyed. Washington, D.C.'s residents are smartest about skin protection, while Chicago's are dumbest, the rankings indicate.

Overall, 35 percent of the U.S. population score above average on the 10-question survey, with an A or B grade, said dermatologist Diane R. Baker, the academy's president..She said AAE hopes to raise that to 45 or even 50 percent. Washington's top ranking was achieved with only 47 percent of residents receiving A or B grades, with New York City ranked second, Miami third, Tampa fourth, and Los Angeles fifth. Only 21 percent of Chicago's residents earned an A or B grade based on their knowledge of tanning and sun protection and how they behave with regard to both.

Visitors can take the survey at www.aad.org. “The notion that only people living in year-round sunny climates are prone to developing skin cancer is completely untrue,” Baker said. “As dermatologists, we treat skin cancer patients living in all areas of the country – from big cities to small towns, in tropical climates and snowbelt states. Studies also show that intense, intermittent sun exposure – which typically involves residents of colder climates vacationing in warm, tropical areas during the winter months – is a significant risk factor for developing future skin cancers.”

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