Healthy Skin: May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

“C’MON, DOC. What’s a little sunburn?” is a question I frequently hear from the public. The answer is, if you’re lucky, that’s all it is. But a little sunburn is one of the easiest skin cancer risk factors to avoid. If left untreated, skin cancer, or melanoma, can progress to the point that it’s disfiguring and even life threatening.

May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. According to American Cancer Society estimates, about 76,380 new melanomas will be diagnosed and about 10,130 people are expected to die of melanoma in 2016. The rate has been rising for 30 years.

The risks in Florida are high, where year-round sunshine means plenty of outdoor activities. It’s not just time at the beach or pools we have to worry about; fishing, golfing, tennis, gardening, walking and running all offer healthy — or potentially unhealthy — doses of sunshine and its harmful ultraviolet rays. As precautions, follow these tips: avoid using tanning beds or sun lamps, wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen, sunglasses, and lip balm, especially when you are outdoors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Those with pale skin, family history of skin cancer, weakened immune systems, or of older age are at an increased risk; however, melanoma is also one of the most common cancers in young adults. Warning signs include changes in mole shape or color, bleeding or oozing from a bump, a new growth, or an older growth that changes in size or shape. Early detection and treatment of skin cancers saves lives and minimizes the area of skin that requires removal and reconstruction.

Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers has clinics in six Florida locations for convenient and timely access. Visit us at or call (863) 293-2147 for more information. Skin cancer screenings are free for new patients!

This column is sponsored by Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers.


column by DR. K. WADE FOSTER

BIO: Dr. K. Wade Foster is a dermatologist and owner of Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers. He completed his internship, residency, UAB, and his Procedural Dermatology Fellowship at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center under Dr. Ronald L. Moy. He has been in private practice at Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers since July 2008.

Posted April 29, 2016

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