'Melanoma Monday' raising awareness

(WFLX)--The American Academy of Dermatology has declared the first Monday in May "Melanoma Monday."

Doctors hope people across the country will use the day as a way of becoming more aware of their skin, and their chances of developing melanoma.

The deadly cancer is on the rise, according to Dr. Jeffrey Fromowitz of Dermatology of Boca. He says one person dies of melanoma every hour.

He says the sooner you catch it, the more likely you are to survive from it. "More advanced melanomas that have gone undiagnosed have had an opportunity to spread and to grow deeper into the skin," Dr. Fromowitz said. Once it spreads throughout the body, the cancer is likely to be lethal.

Dr. Fromowitz says melanoma is on the rise because tanning has become so popular. "The way we look at it is, a tan is damage to your skin and the more tan the more damage you're accumulating. Eventually over time you develop skin cancers or sun damage," Fromowitz said.

Doctors say you should apply sunscreen at least fifteen to thirty minutes before you go out in the sun. Once outside, you should reapply sunscreen often. Dermatologists suggest using a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. They say you should use sunscreen every day, even on a cloudy day. Doctors say it's also crucial you wear other forms of sun protection, including wide brimmed hats and sunglasses.

If you have a questionable mole that you think may have developed melanoma, there are ways to check it. If it's not symmetrical, has an irregular border, has different colors or is more than 6 mm in diameter, you may have melanoma. Also, if you notice a mole is evolving, or is changing in size, shape or color, that's another sign of melanoma.

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