Melanoma Monday raises awareness and offers free skin cancer screenings

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COLUMBIA- Doctors say cases of Melanoma are on the rise this year, and they hope National Melanoma Monday, observed on May 2,  will raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer. 

The American Academy of Dermatology sets aside the first Monday in May to promote healthy skin care.

Dr. Kara Braudis, a dermatologist, spoke about the increasing number of deaths due to melanoma this year.

"We do know that melanoma is an increasingly common cancer, and it is the deadliest form of [skin] cancer, and there are estimated probably close to 10,000 deaths in 2016, in the United States alone," said Braudis.

However, Braudis said there are many different ways to prevent melanoma.

"The sun is the main cause of melanoma, so using sun safe practices in your daily life is the number one thing you can do to prevent melanoma, and that can be really simple things like wearing a daily sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, seeking shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  which is the peak ultra violet exposure or peak sun exposure," said Braudis.

DeSpain Cayce Dermatology partnered with the Family Heath Center Monday to provide free skin cancer screenings.

If anyone would like a free skin cancer screening, the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is offering screenings Thursday, May 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (573) 884-2049.

Although melanoma sometimes has no symptoms, Braudis said some symptoms include itching, bleeding, and changing moles on your body.