Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. More people will get skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. More people will get skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.

“One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime,” said Dr. Schuyler Metlis with Hannibal Regional Medical Group.  “‘Don’t Fry Day’ is a great way to remind us to take preventative measures to protect our skin.”

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and to encourage everyone to protect their skin as they head outdoors to kick off the summer season.

In order to protect yourself from the sun remember to seek shade, wear protective clothing, generously apply sunscreen, do not burn or tan (including tanning beds) and use extra caution near water, snow and sand.

Another way to help catch skin cancer early is to carefully examine your skin monthly. Suspicious lesions or progressive changes in a lesion’s appearance or size should be evaluated promptly by a physician.

“There has been a decrease of incidence of many common cancers, but the rates of melanoma continue to rise significantly. If you have a new skin lesion that is growing, changing shape, bleeding or itching, you should have it checked immediately by a trained professional,” Metlis said.

Some risk factors for skin cancer include a lighter natural skin color; family history of skin cancer; history of indoor tanning; history of sunburns (especially early in life); and skin that burns, freckles, or reddens easily.

“If you have any of these risk factors, you should see a doctor for a skin cancer screening at least once a year,” Metlis said. “Catching cancer early often allows for more treatment options.  If you have skin cancer, finding it early is the best way to make sure it can be treated with success and with less noticeable scarring.”

Metlis is hosting skin cancer screenings throughout the region.  The screenings are free, however space is limited and appointments are required.  To see a full list of screening dates visit medicalgroup.hannibalregional.org.