Caja embarks on a campaign to reduce cases of sun-caused skin cancer

The nation’s health provider said Monday that six persons a day are diagnosed with skin cancer and that many persons die each month as a result of the disease. The agency, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, said that this is preventable with physical barriers from the sun.

The Caja was joined by the security ministry Monday in initiating a campaign that will include the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, the Fuerza Pública and other police agencies under its control.

Mario Zamora Cordero, the minister, noted that police officers and coastguard crew members do a lot of their work out of doors and may be exposed to the sun 10 hours a day. He said officers should think about solar protection the same way they think about their bullet-proof vests each day. He said his officers should wear hats and use sleeves to avoid the direct ray of the sun.  He also urged them to use strong sun lotion.

The Caja said that this is the best form of protection and noted that light-skinned individuals are more at risk. The Caja conducted a campaign for field workers in the Central Valley last year to remind them that even on cloudy days they are vulnerable.

Because of the country’s tropical location, the sun is a danger every day, said the Caja.

In San José some taxi drivers know this. Some have removable sleeves that they use during the day to protect their left arm from the sun.  That is the arm that usually is exposed to solar radiation through the left window of the taxi. Some truckers do this, too.

Of course, tourists who come here for the sun are a special case. Many are not familiar with the tropical sun and spend days regretting that. Strong sun block is obligatory for beachgoers.

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