Sunburn season begins

May 26, 2008 5:05:38 PM PDT
Sunny skies called thousands to the beach this weekend, hoping to catch some rays and get a suntan. Nick Geraci of Vineland said he's been laying out since April. "Makes me look good," he said. Geraci doesn't believe he's at risk for skin cancer. Jillian Eves, of Mt. Ephraim, N.J. isn't worried either. "I think a lot of people think it won't happen to them," she said. But dermatologist Dr. Chris Miller of the Hospital of the University of

Pennsylvania said no one is immune. "I've treated people with the darkest skin who've had skin cancers and people with the palest skin who've had skin cancers," he said.

Chris Filoon, a father of three, takes the dangers of sun exposure seriously. He says his father got skin cancer. So now he and his little ones still enjoy the beach, but they protect themselves with SPF 50. "And everybody wears hats and everybody's undercover whenever we can," Filoon said.

Dr. Miller says wearing sunscreen and limiting exposure is the best way to not only prevent skin cancer, but also early signs of aging. But if the damage is already done, what's important now is to look for signs of problems. "There's nobody better than ourselves to identify a lesion that's new or different or bleeding," Dr. Miller said. He said to look for new spots or freckles or moles that appear to have changed in color, depth, symmetry or diameter.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, but it's also one of the most curable if it's caught early. Still it's estimated more than 8,000 people will die this year from melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. So Miller cautions have fun, but be safe.

Free skin cancer screenings will be held Saturday, May 31, 2008 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Appointments are recommended. (215) 662-2737