Melanoma Cases on the Rise, Doctors Advise Using Protection in the Sun

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As the weather is starting to heat up, more people will find themselves outdoors, on the beach, maybe at the pool.

While doctors don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, they do want people to know the risks that come with being under the sun.

“The most common reason you get melanoma is from UV exposure, so whether that’s from the sun, your entire life, it adds up,” said Dr. Jenny Nelson, a dermatologist at Avera.
Melanoma is on the rise.

Blue cross blue shield says there’s been a 7% increase of melanoma cases in the last four years.

While it can be deadly, there are ways to reduce the risks.

Wearing UPF clothing, lathering on sunscreen, and limiting sun exposure can all help reduce risks.

Doctors say it’s important to keep an eye on your to skin, too.

“That’s probably the biggest thing people pick up on, is they have a mole but it’s changing. So if you’re paying attention to what moles you have then you should be able to pick up a change and find your melanoma earlier when it’s more treatable,” said Dr. Nelson.

Caught early enough, melanoma can be removed in a simple outpatient procedure. If it’s not caught until later, there’s a chance of spreading, making treatment more difficult.

While the sun is hard to avoid, doctors say the biggest contributor to melanoma actually comes from something indoors.

Tanning beds offer a high dose of ultraviolet radiation that can cause more damage than the sun.

“We see a lot of particularly young women who spend a lot of time in tanning beds and they ultimately end up with a melanoma,” said Dr. Nelson.

Something to stay mindful of when soaking up the great outdoors.