May is Melanoma Awareness Month

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. With warmer temperatures, the risk of skin cancer increases. The most severe type of skin cancer is Melanoma – a malignancy of the pigment cells of the skin.

Dermatologists ask that you examine your skin at least once a month and look for anything that is new, bleeding, or changing. A skin check by a dermatologist will help make sure there is no concern or risk.

Dr. Lynn Cornelius, Chief of Dermatology with Washington University and Siteman Cancer Center, says "90% of melanomas are due to ultraviolet exposure.”

Many have the belief that if they tan inside, it will be safer. According to Dr. Cornelius, "no tanning bed is safe and that's the bottom line!”

Nancy Slade was diagnosed with melanoma five years ago after spending her teenage years in tanning beds.

"We were told…that UVA rays were the better rays and UVB rays were the burning rays,” says Slade. “That is all a lie!”

This scare has made her an advocate to use and re-apply sunscreen every two hours, stay out of tanning beds, and make sure she wears protective clothing.

Dr. Cornelius stressed the importance of legislation that would prohibit those 18 years of age and under from being able to use tanning beds. It is currently prohibited in 18 other states. To be on the safe side, be sure to lather up with moisturizers and Sunscreen of SPF 30 and wear it every day!

Visit https://siteman.wustl.edu/treatment/cancer-types/skin/our-approach/ to learn more.

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