RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The first Monday of May is also known as Melanoma Monday, a day to raise awareness about skin cancer during National Melanoma Month.
According to The American Cancer Society, an estimated 98,000 people will receive a new melanoma diagnosis this year, and around 8,000 people are expected to die from the disease.
Doctors say the most important warning sign is a new spot on the skin changing in size, shape, or color. Another sign is a spot that looks different from all the others.
"If caught early, it can be, removed from the skin, and it has no long-term consequences. However, over time, melanomas can actually go deep in the skin and then invade the lymph nodes and spread elsewhere," explained Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, Dermatologist with The Cleveland Clinic. Khetarpal says early detection is key.
According to The American Cancer Society, anyone is at risk of getting melanoma, however, it is more common in Caucasians.
One out of 38 Caucasians will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime, compared to one out of 1,000 African Americans.
Risk factors such as fair skin tone, freckles, and light hair all contribute to a melanoma skin diagnosis.
Age and family history can also increase risk.
"If you are going to be outside, use a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher," Khetarpal explained. "It's important to re-apply every two hours if you are going to be outside or if you get wet. Also, make sure you use water-resistant sunscreen. They also make SPF clothing."
Doctors recommend regular skin screenings especially if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer.
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