Skin Cancer Cases Are Increasing. Some Precautions To Take On This "Melanoma Monday"

Jun, 2023 - by CMI

UV protection is crucial as summer approaches and we spend more time in the sun and skin cancer rates climb.

As part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the first Monday in May is "Melanoma Monday" to highlight the deadliest form of skin cancer and the need to prevent it. The CDC reports about eight thousand melanoma deaths annually.

Dr. Elizabeth Hale, NYU Langone associate professor of dermatology and Skin Cancer Foundation senior vice president, says skin cancer is rising nationwide. She told CBS News that 20% of Americans will get skin cancer by 70. Melanoma is more common in men than women. Men have more back melanoma because they don't use sunscreen or see dermatologists. Dr. Maral Kibarian Skelsey, chairman of the Dermatologic Surgery Center of Washington, says "melanoma is often diagnosed very late" in darker skin and can occur in "not frequently exposed to the sun."

Good news is that it is treatable if caught early.

"Skin cancer is almost always curable if detected early, so it is crucial that we protect ourselves and get checked," Hale explains. Preventing skin and melanoma can be done. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and skin checks are the best measures to prevent skin cancer.

"If you have a spot on your skin that has looked the same your entire life, but the edges suddenly appear different, or the color changes, or the size changes, that is a significant factor," says Skelsey. Hale recommends annual skin checks for US adults. "The distinguishing characteristic of skin cancer is that it is so prevalent, but also so preventable," she says, adding that UV exposure causes 90% of skin cancers.

We recommend using an SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Hale argues "a day at the beach or pool is not enough" because some harms accumulate. If you're sweating from swimming or jogging, reapply sunblock every two hours. Naturally, the goal is to wear it constantly.