Other risks for melanoma include a family or personal history of melanoma and large numbers of unusual looking moles. "People who have had a melanoma are at higher risk for having another," she said. "It is important to check your own skin at home and come in to see a skin doctor if you ever see anything you are worried about it."
How can you tell? Look for moles that follow the ABCD rule, said Dr. Alicia Terando, a surgical oncologist at Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital in Columbus. "'A' stands for asymmetry, meaning that one half of the mole is a different size than the other. 'B' is for border irregularity. 'C' stands for color. Melanomas are often brown, tan and black. The 'D' is for diameter. Most melanomas are greater than 6 millimeters in size. "A melanoma is the mole that stands out," she said. "It's the ugly duckling."
"Prevention is also important," Stein said. "Take precautions when in the sun, including wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sun-protective clothing and applying and reapplying sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays."
Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, director of Mohs and Dermatological Surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, is concerned about the rising rates of skin cancer in young women.
"People know they should wear sunscreen and should not get burned, but there is a disconnect between that and tanning bed use," Mariwalla said. Tans are also being glamorized on reality shows like "Jersey Shore," she added.
As it stands, 36 states restrict indoor tanning use by minors. California became the first state to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for everyone under the age of 18, and many other states are considering such bans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., said that indoor tanning bed use shouldn't be singled
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