Mother Nature seems to be taking her sweet ole time, but according to the calendar it's getting close to being swimsuit season and Avera Dermatologists want to remind us it's also the time of year when our chances for getting skin cancer increase. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on avoiding melanoma; 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 Dermatologists warn us to be careful with our sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in this country. 1 in 5 people will get it. Melanoma is the most dangerous and deadly type of skin cancer.
Avera Dermatologist Dr. Brian Knutson says, "With melanoma one person will die every hour in the U.S. because of it. 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 and sunscreen is the next best. The recommendation is to use one with a SPF of 30 or more. Put it on 15 to 20 minutes before you go outside and reapply every 2 hours that is 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 making money. He says you should be applying an ounce every time you put it on, if you do that then you shouldn't have any leftover 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."
This gives a lot of us even more reason to layer on the sunscreen and avoid laying out altogether.
May 2, 2011 has been dubbed "Melanoma Monday" in Sioux Falls. From 5 to 8 pm at the Lewis Drug Store on 41st and Minnesota Ave. you can get a free skin cancer screening by area dermatologists. Pre-registration is required just call 877-AT-AVERA.