Baseball caps, flip-flops pose hidden skin cancer risk

Though baseball caps and flip-flops are cheap, convenient and have a trendy charm, they could pose a hidden health risk from skin cancer, according to an expert.

“Most skin cancers occur on the parts of the body that are repeatedly exposed to the sun,” said Dr. Rebecca Tung, director of the Division of Dermatology at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill.

“The problem with flip-flops and baseball caps is that they leave the tips of the ears and the tops of the feet dangerously exposed to sun damage. The potential for skin cancers in those areas are real, especially on the tips of the ears,” added Tung, who is also director of Loyola’s dermatology division.

Tung said that before the popularity of flip-flops and baseball caps, people venturing out on sunny days traditionally wore broad-rimmed hats and sneakers or shoes that afforded a large measure of protection to the tops of their feet and tips of their ears.

“But now those areas of their bodies have very little protection,” said Tung, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.

“Combine that with the fact that most people using sunscreen frequently overlook those parts of their bodies when applying it. That’s not a very good combination,” added Tung.

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