AlohaCareSkin cancer survivor warns of danger from the sun - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

AlohaCare Monthly Checkup: Skin cancer survivor warns of danger from the sun

Michael Scott Michael Scott
Dr. Kevin Dawson Dr. Kevin Dawson
Dr. Rio Banner Dr. Rio Banner

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Memorial Day is the traditional kick off for summer and outdoor fun, but Hawaii's sunshine makes us prime targets for skin cancer year round. Michael Scott, a skin cancer survivor, sees the sun in a whole new light now.

"I must say when I look at beach and see all these beautiful girls spending hours out in the sun, I think oh boy be careful" says Scott.

He should know. In December, he noticed "a persistent lump on the upper right side of my cheek."

It was determined it was melanoma by dermatologist, Dr. Kevin Dawson. He describes melanoma as cancer of the pigment producing cells of the skin that primarily occurs from sun damage. Dr. Dawson discovered the tumor and sent Scott to the Cancer Center at Queens to have it surgically removed.

"If we catch in early stages" describes Dawson "over 90 percent are curable by simply removing the affected skin."

That's why Queens recently held a free screening day to catch other cases.

300 people in Hawaii are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. For every sunburn there's a greater chance of skin cancer.

"If somebody gets bad sunburn, they're not going to start developing that melanoma tomorrow. It's going to happen years down the line."

Dr. Rio Banner, medical director for AlohaCare warns you check any moles.

"The things to watch for is any mole that's fairly large, with dark and light portions or is changing" says Banner.

One to watch is the size of a pencil eraser. "That is dangerous and means we need to get it checked" stresses Banner.

Also, beware of too much sun. Take it from Michael Scott.

"It's taking too much of a risk."

You should limit direct sun exposure during mid-day and use a sunscreen SPF 15 or higher even on overcast days. To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of skin cancer, visit cancer.org.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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