Get the Facts on Skin Cancer

Learn how you can prevent skin cancer.

May 1, 2009 — -- Skin cancer holds the distinctions of being the most common form cancer in the United States, but also the most preventable — and when detected early — the most treatable.

Still, more than 10,000 people in the United States die from skin cancer annually, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The organization hopes to prevent and combat skin cancer with its countrywide tour that will make more than 80 stops and offer free full-body skin cancer screenings. It also will give the latest skin cancer information.

Click here to learn more about the tour and check what you need to know about skin cancer prevention during May, which is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie appeared on "GMA" to offer her tips.

Why It's Important

It's totally preventable. You can see it. Skin cancer is huge and it's only getting bigger. In 1935, one in 1,500 Americans was diagnosed with melanoma. By 2010, it's projected there will be one in 50 people with melanoma. It is not necessary that the rate be so high.

Be on the lookout for a changing mole, a mole that bleeds, or something that hurts. That's not normal. Something that hurts or causes you pain is bad. Your skin shouldn't hurt.

Everyone needs to be aware of skin cancer, but if you have a history of skin cancer in your family, or light skin and light hair and lots of freckles, you should be more concerned.

All About Sunscreen

Everyone should use sunscreen with SPF 30. Some use a higher number on their kids, and that's great. The most important thing is that you reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Everyone needs to reapply every two hours. If you are closer to the equator in Jamaica or somewhere like that, you should apply sunscreen every hour.

Top Tips

First tip: Everyone should wear SPF 30 every day, rain or shine, January to December, regardless of ethnicity. Three recommended brands of sunscreen are Aveno, Neutrogena and Ocean Potion.

Second tip: Everyone should get a total body check once a year with a board-certified dermatologist from their scalp to their toes and do a self exam monthly on their own skin to see if they notice anything changing. Ask your wife, your husband, your buddy, "Hey does this look different to you?"

Third tip: Avoid tanning beds. They can increase your melanoma risk by 75 percent. The beds are 12 times stronger than the actual sun.

It's best to try to seek shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. That's when the sun is the strongest.