BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Whether you're rocking out to the hottest country stars or spending the weekend poolside, remember the phrase: slip, slop, slap and wrap.
"So slip on a t-shirt, slop on your sunscreen, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wrap on your sunglasses," said Lindsay Turner, a spokesperson for the Mid-South division of the American Cancer Society.
Despite being the most preventable form of cancer, 3.2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year.
"Skin cancer is about half of the diagnoses when you combine all other cancers, and we know that one in five children at some point in their life will develop some form of skin cancer," Turner said.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States.
Cleveland Clinic melanoma specialist, Brian Gastman, M.D., says anyone can get melanoma, so it's critical to protect your skin from the sun – especially when you're young.
"I would akin it to letting your kids smoke in the 8th grade," said Dr. Gastman. "If you wouldn't let your kids smoke in 8th grade you should be just as careful with sun exposure as well."
Not Protecting Your Skin is Risky Business
If you, or your children, go tanning it's important to stop.
shows that indoor tanning increases melanoma risk.
Bad sunburns increase your risk for developing melanoma too.
In addition, people who have fair skin, hair and eyes or have more than 50-moles, large moles or strange-looking moles are also at higher risk for developing melanoma.
Protecting your skin from the sun's rays is crucial in preventing all forms of skin cancer.
Effective protective measures include, wearing tightly woven clothing, a wide brimmed hat and seeking shade.
Experts recommend applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 or higher to exposed skin, especially for children.
finds melanoma in children increased by an average of 2-percent per year between 1973 and 2009 with higher rates seen in teen girls.
"Young women are very predispositioned for skin damage because of all the sun exposure," said Dr. Gastman. "The ramifications for their long term life are not worth it."
Remember Your ABC's
Skin cancers that are caught early are often easily treated. So if you have a mole that has changed, is new, or notice a growth or sore that doesn't heal, get it checked by a physician.
You can use the ‘ABCD' rule to help remember the signs of a suspicious mole.
- Asymmetry: the shape of one half doesn't match the other
- Border: edges are ragged or blurred
- Color: uneven shades of brown, black, tan, red, white or blue may be present
- Diameter: a change in size occurs (greater than 6mm)
Friday, May 22 is "Don't Fry Day," a national day of awareness for skin cancer. Use the hashtag #DontFryDay on Twitter.