Risk of skin cancer factors that increase the risk of Melanoma - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Risk of skin cancer factors that increase the risk of Melanoma

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -  With the summer season in full swing people will be spending plenty of time at the pool and in the hot sun.

That means an increased risk of skin cancer.

California native Beth Crisafi has enjoyed outdoor activities her entire life.

"I grew up in Northern California, so obviously in California, you do a lot outside. I mean we had a pool in our backyard, so we used to swim a lot, recess was always outside. We also used to go to the Jersey Shore every summer when I was a kid, out east," said Crifasi.

At 26 years-old Beth was diagnosed with Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

"I had noticed that one of my moles was changing a little bit, but I didn't really think much of it at the time," she said.

It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.

"No one thinks they can get skin cancer, but that just isn't the case. Everybody is at risk for developing skin cancer whether your light skin or dark skin," said Dr. Anne Chapas.

Even with the new regulations on tanning beds and sunscreen labeling the disease continues to surge.

"There are a couple of theories on why we are seeing an increased risk of skin cancer... One, I think there is more knowledge about it, were detecting it earlier, but two, there are certain behaviors that we're seeing," she said.

Several factors can increase your risk of Melanoma. Sun exposure, the number of moles on the skin, family history, and sunburns.

"A large scale study in the nurses health study up at Harvard actually showed that having 5 sunburns as a teenager can increase your risk of melanoma by 80 percent," said Chapas.

Skin cancer found early are almost always curable, but months after Beth's first cancerous mole was removed, she noticed another.

"It was very black. It just didn't seem right. Since I went the first time I knew let me go back and get this checked out," said Crifasi.

Sunscreen is the first line of defense against harmful UV rays, but recent studies suggest it is still not enough.

"It's important to protect yourself in other ways such as using sun protective clothing. And it's also good to kind of limit the amount of sun activities you do during those peak times, which in the northeast tends to be between 11a-3pm," said Chapas.

And now Beth is skin cancer free. "now when I'm at the beach, I tan by sitting under the umbrella and applying self-tanner at night," she said.

When it comes to sunscreen don't fall for high SPF labels, anything higher than a 50 can tempt you to stay in the sun too long.
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