Rising UV radiation prompts skin cancer fears in Chile
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 02:03
Cancer experts in Chile are warning people limit their exposure to the sun as dangerously high levels of ultraviolet radiation are expected over the next few months. A recently released report indicates the a hole in the ozone layer, which is normally situated over Antarctica, is moving towards the South American country. Elly Park Reports.
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STORY: Chilean's might have to stay indoors this summer as experts warn that the country will be blasted by extremely high levels of ultraviolet radiation.
According to a study from Chile's National Cancer Corporation, or CONAC, the massive hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is moving closer towards the South American country.
CONAC's Doctor Ernesto Gramsch says the rise in radiation levels is alarming.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DOCTOR IN PHYSICS AND ADVISOR AT THE CHILEAN CORPORATION AGAINST CANCER (CONAC), ERNESTO GRAMSCH, SAYING:
"In October, UV levels were 17 percent higher than they were in October of last year, which was 10 or 15 percent higher than the year before that. So this year it's been a little higher, almost 30 percent higher than in previous years."
Gramsch says that rise is also due to shifts in climatic wind patterns which have thinned out ozone gases over Chile in recent years.
And with less protection from harmful UV rays, the number of skin cancer cases are on the rise.... Doctor Cecilia Orlandi says she has seen the number of patients double since 2000.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DOCTOR CECILIA ORLANDO FROM CONAC, SAYING:
"The number of skin cancer cases have been increasing, which yes, we can detect at a fairly early stage. But cancers from epithelioma basal cells and squamous cells have been increasing as well, and those are directly related to exposure to ultraviolet rays A and B."
Outside Chileans are bracing for a harsh summer.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PHARMACY EMPLOYEE, ELIZABETH, SAYING:
"Now, the sun just burns, it doesn't just warm you up, it just burns.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) STUDENT, PATRICIA, SAYING:
"You feel it (that the sun is stronger) because your face burns and your skin is more sensitive."
But according to a recent United Nations report, a ray of hope is slowly emerging.
Moves to tackle climate change have resulted in the ozone layer finally starting to recover, with estimates that it will be back at 1980 levels by 2050.
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