Skin cancer awareness in full effect for the month of May

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COLUMBIA - Doctors tell more than 1 million Americans each year that they have skin cancer.

This makes skin cancer the most common cancer.  The month of May is designated to create awareness about skin cancer and find ways to avoid and spread the word on the dangers of this disease.

Central Missouri Dermatology Board Certified Dermatologist Lindall Perry said almost twenty percent of Caucasians will suffer from skin cancer in their lifetime.  This month Perry is working to remind everyone to be aware of the damage that ultraviolet rays can cause.

Non-malenoma skin cancer is much more common.  This is often found on the sun exposed skin like your face, ears, nose and your arms.  Perry recommends that everyone has a self-skin exam monthly and if you find a worrysome spot to call your dermatologist or your primary care doctor for helpful advice.

These spots are usually dark brown or black colored with a jagged boarder with some kind of a legion that grows slowly over weeks and months.

The malenoma can be identified and often cured with surgery if it is found early enough in the process befored invading the lymph or the blood system.

Studies with vaccination show some increase in resistance, but have not fully cured the disease.

Perry says that wearing light clothing, using sunscreen, staying hydrated and finding shade are the best ways to enjoy the outdoors while staying away from an excess amount of ultraviolet rays.

"Prevention is the key," Perry said. "Prevention is the most cause effective and happiest ending to the story of working and living outside."

Perry advises everyone to check their skin and look at changes in the body for any changing dark spots and bring it to the attention of a physician or health care provider that specializes in skin.