Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer

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Bathing suit season is unofficially underway, but just because it's been awhile since we've been able to bask in the sun doesn't mean you should let yourself fry.

"Skin is the largest organ in the body and it's important to protect it," says Lauren Cypher of the American Cancer Society

The more you're directly exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the greater your risk of developing skin cancer, which a growing problem across the country.

"It is more widespread than any type of cancer," Cypher explains. "Close to 70,000 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year."

There are three types of skin cancer: melanoma, the most deadly; basal cell carcinoma, the most common; and squamous cell carcinoma.

We sat down with Dermatologist Marcy L. Street to find out the warning signs.

"A lot of times it's just a sore that won't heal, and it might look flesh-colored," says Street, who is a MOHS skin cancer surgeon at Doctor's Approach Dermatology & Laser Center in East Lansing.

"I also hear commonly that it's a scary area that looks like a dry spot but it won't go away after someone puts lotion on," she says.

Street says if you find something you're concerned about, see a dermatologist.

"A lot of these cancers can be caught very early and the cure rates are up to 99 percent," she explains.

Of course, there are ways to protect yourself.

Wear sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, put on a shirt or hat, wear sunglasses, and avoid the sun when it's most intense, between 10a.m. and 4p.m.

And don't think you can take a break from the sunblock on those cloudy days, either.

"Even when it's hazy and overcast, it's still important to protect your skin, no matter what," Cypher says.

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