SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - As the sun gets stronger you may be tempted to spend more time outside. Skin cancer continues to be the most common cancer in the United States, but it’s also very preventable.
We all want to enjoy sunny days, especially after our long harsh winter, but exposing yourself to the sun’s rays puts your skin and your life at risk. Spending too much time in the sun can lead to Melanoma: the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Diagnosed with melanoma at a young age, Meghan Rothschild knows that skin cancer treatment is more than just removing a mole.
“I had to undergo major surgery and have lymph node extractions. I had 75 plus stitches internally and externally. I have scars all over my body. Melanoma is a deadly form of cancer,” said Meghan who lives in western Massachusetts and is part of the Melanoma Foundation of New England.
Baystate Medical Center oncologist Dr. John McCann told 22News even a tan is a sign of skin damage and that damage adds up over time.
Skin damage is a cumulative process meaning it’s not just one sun burn that’s going to give you cancer, but adding up the amount of exposure without protection over your lifetime can give you big problems.
Melanoma is particularly dangerous because it can spread through the body if not caught early, but there are some medical advancements in this area.
“These are very new medicines they can activate your own immune system to try to attack the melanoma cells and we also have some new pills that are very targeted toward certain mutations of melanoma,” said Dr. McCann.
Unusual looking moles can be the first warning sign, so pay attention to your skin.
Avoiding the sun during peak hours, from 9 am through 4 pm, covering up and using SPF 15 or higher can also reduce your chances of skin damage.