Skin cancer awareness: Experts weigh in on how to spot, treat

Since May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness month. 

Two well-known celebrities, Christie Brinkley and Richard Simmons were both diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, affecting more than 3.5 million people annually.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health. Early detection and treatment save lives.

With the unofficial start to summer behind and more of us spending time outdoors, FOX 5 spoke with a board-certified dermatologist for tips on how to protect you and your family.

Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist, says you should see a dermatologist immediately if you notice the following:

  • New lumps and bumps.
  • An asymmetrical mole, has an uneven border and is multiple colors. That’s ink black.
  • Anything that's larger than a pencil eraser.
  • Anything that's changed or evolving.

Unsure of what kind of SPF to use?

Well, if you plan to be outside for more than an hour, SPF 50. "Remember it’s water-resistant, not waterproof, so reapply after you come out of the water," says Dr. Henry.

A trial for the world's first-ever vaccine for Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is currently in phase three of clinical trials, but until that drug makes it to market, everyone should be lathering up in sunscreen.

"Even the deepest darkest skin tone is only SPF 13, and we need SPF 30 for protection."