Doctors Tell People What To Look Out For Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, May 29th 2020, 4:14 pm
By: Kelsey Kernstine

May is skin cancer awareness month, and there are more than 4 to 5 million skin cancer U.S. diagnoses each year, according to OU Medicine.

The National Foundation for Cancer Research said one person dies almost every half an hour from melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.

People can watch out for the early warning signs though like changes in moles and freckles.

Dr. Thomas Stasko with OU Medicine said to watch out for those sores that don't heal.

"The one that gets darker in color. The one that's getting bigger. It might get sore, but that's not a universal sign for it all," he said.

In general, skin cancer grows slowly, but there are several different kinds and it can be deadly.

"Melanoma has a great chance to metastasize and spread elsewhere," Stasko said.

Stasko said there about 200,000 new melanoma cases each year in the U.S. and the its fifth most common type of cancer in young adults.

"Half of skin cancers are find by the individuals themselves,” Stasko said.

And the fairer you are, the more likely you are to develop skin cancer.

"Blue eyes, light colored hair, people of Celtic background,” Stasko said.

Stasko said to get checked out once a year.

“You can sometimes get skin cancer in spots where the sun doesn't shine, so it's important to look everywhere,” Stasko said.

But focus on those areas that get sun like the scalp, especially men with thinning hair.

"Make sure to look at your nails, if you get dark spots or streaks in the nails,” Stasko said.

Stasko said it's best to reduce your sun exposure, absolutely no tanning beds, cover your skin, wear a hat and sunglasses when outside, and make sure to wear that sunscreen.