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American Cancer Society Cautions Hoosiers about Skin Cancer

PHOTO:  Skin cancer rates are on the rise in Indiana.
PHOTO: Skin cancer rates are on the rise in Indiana.
May 16, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - Temperatures are rising in Indiana - and so are skin cancer rates.

The American Cancer Society wants to make sure Hoosiers stay safe this summer. Yolanda Wide, the society's health initiatives coordinator, recommends wearing sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 when outdoors, and reapplying it hourly.

"Individuals interested in possibly receiving a skin cancer screening can call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find out if there is a screening in their area."

Stay away from tanning beds, Wide says, and tell young friends and relatives to do the same.

"Mostly teenagers tend to utilize tanning beds, so we have literature geared specifically for them, so that they understand that they are dangerous. "

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer this year, the society says.

Anyone who is concerned about a mole that doesn't look right shouldn't hesitate to check it out, Wide says. When looking at moles, she adds, remember A-B-C-D - things a doctor should check.

"A" stands for asymmetrical.

""B" is for border. If the edges are ragged or blurred, that is another sign to be cautious and go talk to the doctor about.

"C" is for color. "Make sure the pigmentation is not uniform."

"D" stands for diameter. If a mole is the size of a pencil eraser or larger, Wide says, it should be examined.

Wide says the Friday before Memorial Day is known as "Don't Fry Day"...

"That is a day to raise awareness about skin cancer, and just help people take steps to protect themselves from the deadly disease of skin cancer."

While more cases of skin cancer are being diagnosed, Wide says, the death rate is decreasing. Still, this year the society estimates about 12,000 people will die from skin cancer.

More information is online at cancer.org.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN