Melanoma Monday kicks off skin cancer awareness month

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)–May is National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and today is ‘Melanoma Monday.’ Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Something people may not know be aware of this: that a tan is not a healthy glow. In fact, it’s the evidence of damage done by the sun’s ultraviolet rays on your skin.

Think about that the next time you’re on the beach.

Dr. Mona Shahriari, Assistant Professor & Associate Director of Clinical Trials Department of Dermatology at UConn Health, points out that skin cancer “is the accumulative amount of sun exposure you get during your lifetime.”

Some timely tips include avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when its rays are the strongest.

Check yourself for new or changing moles, or lesions not healing, and remember that a tanning booth is not a safe alternative.

The key to prevention may be loading up on sunscreen.

“A lot of people are not using it for whatever reason, so our recommendation is SPF of 30 or higher,” said Dr. Shahriari. “And you want to put your sunscreen on about 20 minutes before you actually go outside, and re-apply every two hours, if you are doing normal activity.”

She also adds that you should re-apply every hour if “you’re engaging in an activity that makes you sweat or go into water.”

“No one is immune to skin cancer. All skin tones are vulnerable,” Shahirari added.

Look for free screenings in your area this month, including one this weekend in Milford.

The Connecticut Dermatology Group is hosting a free screening this Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 9 am to 1 p.m. at their Milford office — located at 233 Broad Street.

It’s the third year for the free screenings.

For more information call 203-818-4151 or register here.

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