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Gov. Herbert confirms he is being treated for skin cancer

Governor Herbert, left, and Doug Wright discuss tax reform and other legislative actions on Feb. 28, 2019. In April, Gov. Herbert revealed he is being treated for skin cancer. (KSL/Matthew Brooks)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert confirmed he is being treated for skin cancer at a ceremonial bill signing event on Wednesday.

The governor, who has been spotted wearing small bandages, disclosed the cancer treatment to a group of school children, whom he advised to wear sunscreen. He was signing bills related to funding education.

Herbert canceled his monthly news conference and radio show, Let Me Speak to the Governor, set for tomorrow, for the second month in a row.

Utah has one of the nation’s highest rates of skin cancer, and specifically melanoma, long considered the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Researchers believe Utah’s high elevation combined with the genetic prevalence of fair skin and light eyes in the state helps contribute to higher rates of melanoma. Ultraviolet radiation is believed to increase by about 7 percent for every 1,000 feet of elevation. Sun exposure is also a major factor; Salt Lake City averages 222 sunny days per year.

Even our famous powder is not protective; skiers have long noted that snow reflects sunlight back onto their faces. Scientists say snow reflects about 80 percent of ultraviolet rays back up at your face.

This story will be updated.