"Melanoma Monday" targets skin cancer

"Melanoma Monday" targets skin cancer

(NBC News) - Warm weather has arrived, and a great deal of sun exposure often comes along with pool openings and summer vacations.

That's why the American Academy of Dermatology is using the month of May to raise awareness about skin cancer and has declared today "Melanoma Monday."

Melanoma patient Liz Hazuka does not go outside without sunscreen, and for good reason.

"It's a really surreal feeling when the doctor tells you have cancer," she said.

Liz has had melanoma twice, both before her 30th birthday. Both instances were blamed on too much sun exposure growing up.

"I just had a lot of burns as a kid," she said. "I don't think back then we really knew the real risks."

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, but it is preventable.

Experts recommend using a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day, even on cloudy days.

Beyond the block, the American Academy of Dermatology says you should stay covered with clothing, a hat, and sunglasses, and stay in the shade whenever possible.

Just as important are yearly skin checks with a doctor.

"If you catch a melanoma early, it is 99 percent curable. Cut it out. It is out. Beyond that, the numbers drop tremendously," said Dr. Adam Friedman.

The American Cancer Society predicts doctors will diagnose more than 90,000 cases of melanoma this year.

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