It's getting close to being swimsuit season and Avera Dermatologists want to remind you it's also the time of year when your chances for getting skin cancer increases. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
By now most of us in the Midwest are chomping at the bit to get outside, but Avera Dermatologist Dr. Brian Knutson warns us to be careful with our sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in this country. 1 in 5 of us will get it. Melanoma is the most dangerous and deadly.
Dr. Knutson with Avera Dermatology and Laser Center says, "With melanoma one person will die every hour in the US.. This type of cancer spreads easily so the earliest we can identify it, the better."
For those of you with no family history of skin cancer you should get your moles checked once a year.
Dr. Knutson says, "Generally a mole that is unchanged for many years tends to be a more benign mole. If you start to see changes in color or shape, it becomes more suspicious in appearance, then that is something we would want to take a look at under a microscope."
If you are going to be outside protective clothes are your best protection, next best is sunscreen. The recommendation is to use one with a SPF of 30 or more and put it on 15 to 20 minutes before you go outside so it has time to soak into your skin. Reapply every 2 hours, unless you have been swimming then you need to reapply after you get out of the water. I asked Dr. Knutson if you have to buy new sunscreen every summer or if that was the industries way of getting us to buy more bottles. He says you should be applying an ounce every time you put it on so if you do the math, you shouldn't have any left over after the summer.
Dr. Knutson says, "We definitely see more skin cancer in individuals that don't have a lot of protective pigments. The blonde, blue eyed, red hair folks are at greater risk."
All the more reason to layer on the sunscreen and avoid laying out altogether.
May 3rd has been dubbed "Melanoma Monday" in Sioux Falls. From 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Lewis Drug Store on 41st and Minnesota Ave. you can get screened for skin cancer for free. Appointments are REQUIRED by calling 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372).