What you need to know about skin cancer

May 21, 2015

With the long holiday weekend and warmer weather ahead, the Interim Chair of Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Department of Dermatology is warning of the dangers of the sun.

Sun exposure, blistering sunburn and tanning beds all increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

Melanoma can spread, proving to be deadly. It is one of three types of skin cancer.
Credit Courtesy of Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Dr. Ilene Rothman says skin cancer is the most common form of all cancers. She notes melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and can be deadly if not caught early. 

Dr. Rothman suggests using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapplying it frequently.  She also recommends doing a monthly body check to examine your skin for changes. 

In terms of the greatest myth involving skin cancer, Dr. Rothman says it has to do with tanning beds.  She notes the idea that getting a "base tan" before heading off on vacation, so you don't burn, is a dangerous one.  She notes tanning beds damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer by 59%.

WBFO's Cheryl Hagen spoke with Dr. Rothman about the various types of skin cancer, risk factors and much more on Morning Edition today.