Sat, 27 Aug 1994

Jakartans warned to avoid the sun

JAKARTA (JP): Cancer specialists have warned Jakartans that overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer.

"Actually, people who live close to the equator have a greater risk of contracting skin cancer," noted Mochtar Hamzah, an oncologist (cancer specialist) of Dharmais National Cancer Center yesterday.

He also said that Caucasians should try to minimize their exposure to the sun between 10 a.m and 3 p.m because they have a higher risk of suffering from such cancer than Asians.

Mochtar said that factors which cause skin cancer include untreated wounds, X-rays and contact with chemicals, but the main factor is overexposure to the sun.

However, Achmad Tjarta, a noted pathologist from the medical school of the University of Indonesia, reminded that the thinning ozone layer is another factor which could increase the risk of getting cancer.

Responding to a question about the most effective way to avoid skin cancer, Aida Suriadiredja, Mochtar's colleague from the center, said that avoiding the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the best way, and that sun block does not guarantee protection for the skin.

Mochtar said that minimizing contact with chemical materials such as arsenic and X-rays also help minimize the likelihood of skin cancer.

He said skin cancer is the third most common type of cancer, after uterine and ovary cancer. Aida added that skin cancer is the most common form of the disease among Indonesian males, followed by nasopharyngeal cancer and lymph gland cancer.

"Presumably Indonesian men get more sun than its woman," she said. (03)