May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Black ribbon awareness in doctor's hand for Melanoma and skin cancer.

With over 5 million cases diagnosed each year, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the cause of most types of skin cancer. The sun’s UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. Most people only think about sun safety when they spend a summer day at the beach, but sun exposure can be risky even when engaging in brief, daily activities, like walking your dog or waiting for the bus.

To reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  • Seek shade when possible
  • Use sunscreen
  • Wear appropriate clothing (sunglasses, hat, long-sleeved shirts, etc.) when possible
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Check your skin regularly for spots (moles, freckles, age spots). If you notice any new or changing spots, contact your doctor.
  • Know your family history of skin cancer

For more information, visit

RESOURCES: CDC Skin Cancer Resources, NCDHHS