Dermatologists encourage you to practice sun safety on "Melanoma Monday"

Posted at 7:06 AM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-07 08:08:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Today is "Melanoma Monday," a day dedicated to raising awareness about skin cancer.

Dermatologists say one way to start making skin care a habit is to apply sunscreen before starting your day.

The University of Kansas Health System is offering about 200 free skin screenings to help identify any signs of melanoma. Most of the time slots are already reserved.

If you can’t see a doctor today, a dermatologist from KU Health System shared advice with 41 Action News. Dr. Daniel Aires said sunburns cause melanoma, and if you've had five blistering sunburns in your life, it doubles your risk of getting melanoma. 

Aires said everyone's skin is unique. Some handle sun better. But he recommends wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and long sleeves to keep the sun off your skin.

"It’s a matter of being very smart about it, figuring out how vulnerable you are and  then taking precautions to prevent the burns. Sun burns are the big word: sun burns are bad," he reiterated.

Melanoma first shows up as a mole. But if you have a mole, you don't have to worry right away. Aires said you want to compare the moles on your body. If one looks different than the others, he calls it an "ugly duckling." Aires recommends having a dermatologist take a closer look at any "ugly ducklings." 

Research shows melanoma kills more than 10,000 Americans every year. 

"It's sad because it really is preventable. If you catch that ugly duckling early and you take it off before it has a chance to spread, patients do great," Aires said. 

The dermatologist recommends using sunscreen with zinc in the ingredients. Aires said avoid spray-on sunscreen, and stick with the lotion. 

For more information on the skin screenings at KU Health System Monday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., email