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Be smart in the sun this summer and take care of your skin.

Sun seekers are out there. And some of them will soak up too many rays.

Dr. Kelly McMasters, U of L Chief of Surgery

"One blistering sunburn can put you at increased risk of melanoma. The sunburns causing melanoma may have happened 30 to 40 years ago. That's why we caution patients about protecting themselves from the sun."

Dr. Kelly McMasters is the Chief of Surgery at the University of Louisville. He also directs the largest melanoma clinical trial in the world. The Sunbelt Trial started eight years ago and continues to gather information on the 36-hundred patients enrolled. He says there are reasons to believe most patients in the Sunbelt Trial are there because the sun got to their skin.

Dr. McMasters continues

"There's not a good way to tell how skin cancer started but most cases are related to sun exposure or we believe in some cases tanning bed use."

McMasters blames tanning beds for a high number of skin cancers in teenagers. He also blasts a recent report that suggests sun exposure can fight cancer. He says the sun does help the body produce vitamin D, which helps build strong bones.

Dr. McMasters continues

"You don't need much exposure to produce adequate vitamin D. No reason to go to a tanning bed if you are worried about vitamin D. You can get enough with casual sun exposure just being outside."

McMasters encourages the use of sun block and says to put on a shirt if those shoulders get too hot. Even a time out in the shade could help prevent problems down the road. But if you do notice changes in your skin, see a doctor right away.

Dr. McMasters concludes

"We'll cure more patients by prevention and early detection of melanoma than by treating advanced melanoma. 86 percent of all melanoma are cured by simple surgery when caught early."

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