Doctors raising awareness about danger of melanoma

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Dermatologists like Dr. Zoe Draelos are placing a greater focus on a skin cancer that is becoming more common.

“It’s a highly deadly form of skin cancer and it is rising,” Draelos said. “If it’s not caught early it is uniformly deadly.”

Draelos is seeing more cases of melanoma, a skin cancer that can spread to other parts of the body. Draelos believes doctors are seeing more cases of melanoma because people are spending more time outside and in tanning beds.

“As young people lay in tanning booths or the sun, we are seeing melanoma happening at earlier ages,” Draelos said.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for ages 15 to 29. When you factor in the entire population of the United States, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates melanoma will kill over 9,000 people this year.

Early detection is the key. Draelos says look for spots that are asymmetric, have ragged boarders, dark in color, the size of a pencil eraser, and the spot’s appearance is changing.

Along with early detection, prevention is important. Enjoy the sun by wearing sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher, sunglasses for your eyes and a wide hat to protect your face and head.

Anyone can develop melanoma. That’s why it’s important to be sun safe this summer.

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