More sunshine on the way; know skin cancer warning signs.

Get treatment before it becomes deadly.
Experts say it's important to get skin checks often and to know the warning signs of melanoma.
Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 1:10 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We’ve still got a few more weeks of summer left and it’s important to stay safe when you’re outside in the sun’s rays.

“People need to realize too that melanoma can be anywhere on the body it’s not always on places that you can see I mean you can have it in the mouth, on the toenails, the genital areas,” says Nurse Practitioner Mary Kathryn Edwards.

The Skin Cancer Foundation says more than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. “Those with pale skin, red hair, blonde hair, family history, those who have been out in the sun a whole lot, excessive exposure, those increase your risk for melanoma so the earlier you can detect it the better the prognosis is,” says Edwards.

If skin cancer is not detected early enough, Edwards says it can spread to other organs in the body. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, which is why it’s so important to know the warning signs. Edwards says they usually go by the ABCDE scale. “You want to look at any lesion that has changed, you want to look at the edges to see if it’s jagged, if the borders have changed that would be your ‘b’, asymmetry would be your ‘a’, ‘c’ would be a change in color, ‘d’ would be diameter if you notice it’s starting to get larger/changing in size, and ‘e’ would be evolution,” explains Edwards.

She says getting an annual skin check is a good option because your doctor can see if spots on your body have changed over time.

Wearing long clothing and hats, using sunscreen, staying in the shade, and limiting you time outdoors may seem like small precautions but they make a big difference.

Medical professionals say it's important not to push your body too hard in these excessive temperatures.

“I usually put like an SPF 50 on my kids and you want to reapply it fairly often - and really between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the rays are usually the worst, so if you can avoid being outside during those times that’s important,” says Edwards.

And one final reminder: “Avoid tanning beds, I know the young ones don’t want to hear that, but do a spray tan or something,” says Edwards.

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