Scientists in Australia have uncovered a scary phenomenon in fish living in the Great Barrier Reef: skin cancer lesions in wild salmon in the area!

According to reports, the scientists were studying shark prey, when they noticed black skin lesions on some of the wild salmon. They weren't sure if they were naturally occurring spots or signs of an infection, but upon closer examination of the fish and their skin under a microscope, they discovered that the lesions were cancerous cells. Can you imagine!? Fish in this area were suffering from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer! 

Read more ¿Qué más? I never wear sunscreen and one day it will probably kill me

For all of us sun-loving chicas, this is sobering news. While these diseased fish are living in Australia, which is known to be right under the ozone hole that is centered in Antarctica, the news is still a wake-up call. I know many of us, in our desire to be bronze goddesses, might not be as careful as we should be with the sunscreen. Heck, I know I'm sometimes guilty of wearing only tanning oil (or, I must admit, baby oil sometimes) and no SPF--please don't tell my doctor! And I haven't been as vigilant with the sunscreen on my baby either--something that my pediatrician was adamant about.

Just in case you're in the camp of those who think that Latinos are immune from the sun's harmful rays: Think again! We're no less exempt from cancer-causing UV rays than these fish! I know we may think that because some of us are a bit more melanin-blessed and naturally darker that we don't need to wear sunscreen--but that's been proven to be a myth! Skin cancer diagnoses are increasing steadily in our community; and what's worse: Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with the deadly melanoma at a much later stage, which greatly lowers our survival rate.

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So break out that sunscreen and make sure the kids are always protected! Apply every time you're outside, and make sure to touch up every two hours or if you go in the water and towel dry. With so many options these days--from regular creams to gels to sprays to (my favorite!) super convenient wipes--there really is no excuse!

Do you wear sunscreen outside? What other precautions do you take to avoid sun exposure?

Image via thilo_hilberer/flickr

About the author

Yuliana is the Assistant Managing Editor of Mamás Latinas and a new-ish mamá (as her son is almost a toddler, she can't claim new mami-hood anymore). She was born in Medellín, Colombia and raised in New Jersey.

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