High Melanoma Rates in Northern Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

High Melanoma Rates in Northern Nevada

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Sunscreen is a must this time of year, especially if you plan on heading up to Tahoe.

"Taking care of your skin is so important especially because we're at a higher altitude," said Kristen Power of the Nevada Cancer Coalition.

The closer you are to the sun, the more radiation you're exposed to, raising your risk for cancer. The valley is about 4,500 feet, while the beaches at Lake Tahoe are over 6,000 feet.

"We do have higher rates of melanoma than the rest of the country and melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer," said Power.

You can protect yourself by putting sunscreen on daily. "We grew up in a time where the kids were out running half naked in the sun all day. No one thought about it," said resident Cheryl King.

The Centers for Disease Control says you can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes, so sunblock is a must. "You want to look at the SPF, and SPF 30 is really a great coverage. You want to look at something that is broad spectrum, " added Power.

Regular sunscreen is recommended to be sure you don't miss anywhere, and it's even more important for kids.

"Even more important for kids. One blistering sun burn during childhood exponentially increases your chances for skin cancer later in life," said Power.

While risk factors for skin cancer vary, prevention is key for everyone.

Keep an eye out for the A B C D E's of melanoma when checking new spots on your skin. 

A stands for asymmetrical
B for border
C for color
D is for diameter, check if the mole is larger than a pea
E is for evolving, has it changed in the past few weeks or months? If so, talk to your doctor.

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