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Dermatologist shares warning signs of melanoma

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Posted at 9:03 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 09:41:22-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The triple digits are here. And it's so important to protect yourself when working or playing in this Vegas heat. So we spoke with a Henderson Dermatologist about safety in the sun and its effects on your skin.

"I think I've had probably all of the procedures that they offer," says Victor Harris.

He laughs about it now, but admits he wasn't very good about taking care of his skin when he was younger.

CANCEROUS SPOTS

"No, I didn't pay much attention to it," says Harris.

As a result, he's had about 20 different procedures to remove cancerous spots from his head, shoulders, arms and back.

"While some were surgically removed. I've had radiation. I had some frozen. I've had some scraped and burned... If I had known I was going to get to be this old, I'd of taken better care of my body," says Harris.

He has definitely learned his lesson the hard way. But Dr. Michael Bryan of Las Vegas Skin and Cancer Clinics says you don't have to.

"The sun is not your friend," says Dermatologist, Dr. Bryan.

He says about three million people will be diagnosed with the most common skin cancers this year. Fortunately, those cases are typically treatable. But some won't be so lucky.

PROTECT YOURSELF

"Between 75 and 8,000 death per year from melanoma, because melanoma is one that can actually spread," says Dr. Bryan.

To protect yourself, look for the A.B.C.D.E's of melanoma.

A is for Asymmetry. If one half doesn't look like the other, you should see a dermatologist.

B is for Border. "Irregular or wavy or jagged border. Most moles are rounded on the edge. If you've got something irregular, that needs to be looked at," says Dr. Bryan.

C is for Color. "Something that's got white and tan and dark brown and black and pink, multiple colors within the same mole," says Dr. Bryan.

D is for Diameter. You typically don't want to see a spot any bigger than the size of a pencil eraser.

And E is for Evolving. "Anything that is new or anything that is changing deserves a check," says Dr. Bryan.

WEAR SUNSCREEN

In the meantime, Dr. Bryan says you should be wearing sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing no matter what you're doing outside.

"Your skin doesn't know the difference, whether it's living by the pool or whether you're out trimming your roses. So sun is sun is sun and chronic sun will lead to some of these potential problems," says Dr. Bryan.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The Nevada Cancer Coalition estimates nearly 800 Nevadans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year.

It's recommended you use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. You should also be reapplying every two hours.