This is a message that I want men and women of all ages, whether my patient or not, to hear. Please feel free to pass this message along. Protecting yourself against early sun exposure before age 18 is a hard message to get through to children, caretakers and even parents.

Research recently released from the Mayo Clinic, reports that the cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is now eight times higher among women and six times higher among men. In the study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers looked at the number of melanomas diagnosed for the first time among people ages 18 to 39 in 2014 compared to 1970.

Melanoma is the fastest rising incident cancers in the last 30 years -- and more recently in middle-aged men and women. The incidence of melanoma is alarming, considering the rates of many other types of cancers are declining.

While melanoma may only represent 4% of skin cancers, 80% of cancer related deaths are due to melanoma. It has the proven its ability to invade deep into the tissue to the lymphatic system and then spread very quickly.

I firmly believe and support researchers who report the dramatic rise in melanoma rates among young adults is most likely due to unsafe exposures to ultraviolet light, such as severe sunburns in childhood. In addition, tanning booths and cheap travel to warm, sunny destinations also plays a role in putting one at risk for skin cancer.

Please, protect yourself and the children from the harmful sun. Sunblock and UV protective clothing create a barrier from the sun. However, they don't fully block the sun exposure to the skin. Reapplying sunblock, seeking shade and staying out of the direct sunlight between peak hours of 10 AM to 4 PM are vigilant behaviors we all should adopt.

~ Dr. Arthur