Doctor: 1 in 50 Americans Diagnosed with Skin Cancer

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "I haven't been sunburned seriously in over 45 years," says Dr. Thomas Cafferty, recently diagnosed with melanoma.

About a year ago, Cafferty says his wife noticed a spot near his eye that wasn't there before.

"It's in the corner of my eye and my wife had noticed a little mole, more or less, there," says Cafferty

He says it didn't cause any discomfort even he didn't notice it.

"I wear glasses for the most part and the frame hid that," says Cafferty

But what the frame was hiding, could've been life threatening.

"I really didn't realize the urgency and I had no clue that it could possibly be malignant melanoma," says Cafferty

Thursday morning, he underwent a procedure to remove the Melanoma.

"Skin cancer, I think is something that, is easily preventable," says Dr. Long Quan of Carolina Dermatology.

Quan, Cafferty's doctor, says Melanoma is common.

"We have 3 million cases of skin cancer a year. Almost 1/2 of all new cancers are skin cancers," says Dr. Quan.

But what causes skin cancer? Quan says sun exposure both outdoor and indoor are the main reasons so many Americans are being diagnosed.

"Slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on the sunscreen," says Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's Chief Health and Medical Editor.

Dr. Besser stopped by Main and Gervais to discuss his new book, 'Tell Me the Truth Doctor,' and while here we talked about sunscreens.

"As long as you are getting 30, you're getting very good protection. A 100 sunscreen isn't going to do you much better than 30," says Dr. Besser

For those like Cafferty, he warns young people to be wary of sun exposure now and not later.

"It's not necessarily what happens tomorrow but what is going to happen maybe in 20 years, 30 years, 40 years," says Cafferty

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