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May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer detected in the U.S. and worldwide and more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

It is widely understood that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the most common cause of skin cancer. Having five or more sunburns doubles a person’s risk for melanoma.

Anyone can get skin cancer, but people with certain characteristics are at greater risk—

  • A lighter natural skin color.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Blond or red hair.
  • Certain types and a large number of moles.
  • A family history of skin cancer.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • Older age.

A change in your skin is the most common sign or symptom of skin cancer, but not all skin cancers look the same. It is important to take notice of any changes in your skin, especially when spending a great deal of time outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a simple way to remember the warning signs is to remember the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma—

  • Asymmetrical: Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • Border: Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • Color: Is the color uneven?
  • Diameter: Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • Evolving: Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

It is vitally important to take precautions when exposing your skin to UV rays, even in overcast or winter weather. Always use sunscreen and, if possible, stay in shady areas and avoid indoor tanning such as tanning beds or lamps.

Regardless of risk, always report any unusual moles or changes in your skin to your doctor and talk to your doctor if you are at increased risk of skin cancer.

Infirmary Cancer Care stands with our patients through our continuum of care: prevention, early detection, diagnosis, staging, treatment and remission – every step of the way. Call 251-435-CARE (2273) for more information and visit for more information about prevention, screening and treatment.