• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

6 people die every month in Costa Rica from skin cancer

January 15, 2013

Experts from the Social Security System, or Caja, on Tuesday asked Ticos to avoid overexposure to the sun and to remain vigilant to detect skin cancer. In Costa Rica, six new cases of skin cancer are reported daily, causing the deaths of six people each month.

According to the National Meteorological Institute, Tuesday was expected to be the hottest day of the week – and possibly of the month – because of fewer clouds and little wind. Temperatures across the country increased by up to 10 degrees Celsius, meteorologist Francisco Poleo said.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer here and case have increased by 25 percent in the first decade of the century, according to Caja records.

“The risk is throughout the country and throughout the year. There is as much risk on a clear day as on a cloudy one, and there is risk at the beach or in the mountains,” Sergio Cortés, a dermatologist at San José’s Calderón Guardia Hospital said.

Caja experts said that Ticos often make the mistake of protecting themselves only at the beach.

“Costa Rica receives more UV radiation in the mountains than at sea level. There is 20-40 percent more UV radiation at an altitude of 1,500 meters than at the beach,” a Caja statement said.

Another common mistake is not using sunscreen because the day is cloudy. However, clouds only block UV radiation by 50 percent, and people can actually suffer severe skin burns if exposed for long periods.

Non-coastal areas have skin cancer rates above the national average, including Pérez Zeledón and Coto Brus (southern region), Turrubares (south of San José), San Ramón (Alajuela), and the Heredia cantons of Belén, Flores and Central.

Cortés said that in order to detect skin cancer early, people should visit the doctor when an injury to the skin does not heal properly or when a mole changes appearance.

“Five sunburns before the age of 18 increase by 100 percent the possibility of skin cancer after 40 years,” he said.

You may be interested

UN commends Costa Rica for decarbonization efforts
Climate Change
3510 views
Climate Change
3510 views

UN commends Costa Rica for decarbonization efforts

Alejandro Zúñiga - February 25, 2021

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Thursday commended Costa Rica for its ongoing decarbonization efforts.  Thursday marked the…

Government updates Costa Rica decarbonization efforts
Environment and Wildlife
10538 views
Environment and Wildlife
10538 views

Government updates Costa Rica decarbonization efforts

The Tico Times - February 24, 2021

The Costa Rican government on Wednesday updated the progress of the country's decarbonization efforts. The Presidency says 90.7% of the…

Reminder: Costa Rica’s entry requirements during the coronavirus pandemic
Costa Rica
3262 views
Costa Rica
3262 views

Reminder: Costa Rica’s entry requirements during the coronavirus pandemic

Alejandro Zúñiga - February 24, 2021

Since November 1, tourists from anywhere in the world can visit Costa Rica. Visitors can arrive to Costa Rica via…