Healthy Living: UV safety for summer

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After we broke records here in Washington with triple-digit temperatures doctors are now warning about too much sun exposure. 

We are also learning that it does not take much to develop skin cancer. Doctors say it only takes five bad burns to significantly increase your risk for melanoma. 

There are other risk factors that could help you better understand how to prevent it. 

As much as we want to soak up the picture-perfect Pacific Northwest summer – Senior Executive Medical Director with Regence Dr. Drew Oliveira says protection is key. 

"Wear a big hat, big broad rim hat to help protect your face from sun exposure," says Dr. Oliveira.

He says put those shades on, wear protecting clothing, apply, and reapply sunblock every two hours.

"The thing we most worry about is skin cancer," he says. "Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer altogether in younger age groups, younger women it’s the number one cause of cancer. It’s the number two cause of cancer in women ages 30-35."

Here’s who is most at risk: People with fair skin, green or blue eyes or freckles Also those who have a history of cancer or chronic conditions.

So what should you look out for: Moles - the size, shape, color and diameter of them are all important to identifying cancer.

"Is it asymmetric, is it not round?" he says. "What does the border look like? Is it regular or smooth? C is for color. Did the color change or is it very dark?"

Dr. Oliveira says if the mole is changing, or more are appearing, that is your cue to call your doctor. 

He says if you catch melanoma early, the survival rate is almost 100%. If you catch it late, it can be pretty devastating.

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