The Wisconsin state legislature and the Wisconsin Dermatological Society are teaming up to raise awareness about skin cancer.
Dermatologist Kathleen Stokes says the rate of melanoma has increased exponentially. In 1930, the rate of melanoma in the US population was 1 in 5000. Currently, she says, that's 1 in just 65. Being 'Sun Smart' can reduce your chances of developing skin cancer.
Representative Sheldon Wasserman (D-Milwaukee) is the only practicing physician in the state legislature. "For some cancers we can't detect things early; and this is one that we can."
Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Falls) survived skin cancer on her nose. She encourages everyone to get screened at least once a year, and take precautions early, as 80% of one's sun exposure is before the age of 18.
"I also would like to have this as a way to give a message out to the parents in Wisconsin to really protect their children as we go forward in summer. A lot of our Wisconsin parents are not aware that their children need top-notch protection in the sun."
Representative Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) found a mole on his arm, which turned out to be cancerous. He says "this is serious business."
"I want to live a long time, as I think all of you do. So don't be afraid to look around on the parts of your body you can see, and have somebody in your family look you over and if there's anything suspicious, don't hesitate to go to your doctor and get an evaluation, because it could save your life."
According to the American Academy of Dermatology , skin cancer affects 1 in 5 Americans, and more than 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year. It's estimated that about 1,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Wisconsin this year. Wisconsinites are encouraged to participate in a free skin cancer screening this summer. For more information, visit MelanomaMonday.org .