Updated: 05/05/2014 6:10 PM
Created: 05/05/2014 1:05 PM WNYT.com
By: Benita Zahn
Skin is our biggest organ. The warmth of the sun feels good on our skin after the long, cold winter. But we need to protect against the sun's rays as we enjoy the higher temperatures.
"Having a tan doesn't protect you from getting skin cancer. That's just your body's response to that u-v radiation" explains Dr. Ash Patel.
Dr. Patel is a plastic surgeon - often tasked with surgically removing skin cancers - the most dangerous of them, melanoma.
The American cancer society estimates about 76, 100 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year .. About 10-thousand more in men than women, and 9700 people are expected to die from the disease, twice as many men than women. And it's no longer only a disease of older people.
" A number of patients in their 30's with skin cancers."
Blame sun exposure and use of tanning beds, says Dr. Patel.
" Going to a tanning salon actually will increase your risk of getting skin cancer down the road. It's the same kind of ultraviolet radiation that you get from the sun. It's what we call UVB radiation. "
So protect your skin, limit sun exposure and do a skin check keeping alert for a new bump or nodule, color spreading into surrounding skin, redness or swelling beyond the mole, pain, tenderness, itching, and/or bleeding. And while fair skinned people are at greater risk for melanoma, darker skin is not a guarantee you'll be immune from this cancer.
And remember, the UVA rays from the sun, while not the cancer causing rays, do age your skin, so protect it, year round.