HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - May 2 is known as Melanoma Monday, and the month of May is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
The summer sunshine is coming, but dermatologists say now is the time to think about how to protect your skin.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and rates are increasing.
In the U.S., the American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to do regular skin checks by following the ABCDE rule:
- Border (if irregular)
- Color (if it varies)
- Evolution (how it changes over time.)
The primary risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet light.
That can be linked to sun exposure as a child or teen or chronic sun exposure as an adult - including tanning beds.
Nearly 100,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year.
It's more common in men overall, but before age 50, the rates are higher in women than men, and it increases as people age.
And if you're fair-skinned, you're at an even greater risk of developing skin cancer.
Health experts do say it is treatable if it's found early.
Most melanomas and other skin cancers can be prevented. The best way is to protect your skin from UV rays.
Dermatologists say we should wear broad spectrum waterproof sunblock with a SPF of 30 or higher and reapply often.