Protecting yourself from skin cancer


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – May is Skin Cancer Awareness month. More than two people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. More than 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year.

Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack told 22News, “Every few months or so take a look at your skin and see if there are any new pigmented lumps or bumps or things that are changing. And if indeed there are, have them looked at by your provider”

There are five types of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer by age 70. That breaks down to nearly 10,000 being diagnosed every day in the United States. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Having five or more sun burns doubles your chances of getting the melanoma type skin cancer but regular daily use of an SPF 15 or more reduces your chances of getting the melanoma type by 50 percent.

“Most skin cancers can be taken care of fairly easily just by having a dermatologist or surgeon remove them. But there are some forms of skin cancer, particularly the pigmented kind called myeloma, that can kill,” said Dr. Keroack.

When detected early, the five year survival rate of melanoma is 99 percent. So doctors urge people to consult their physician if they believe there is a new or concerning mark on their skin.

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