UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – June is Skin Cancer Prevention and Awareness Month. Dr. Tom Raisanen is a dermatologist at Aspirus Health and we spoke with him about skin cancer.

He told us about different types of skin cancer and the warning signs of those types.

“Different types of skin cancer can show up in different ways,” said Dr. Raisanen. “Often, if it’s of the basal cell carcinoma, or squamous cell carcinoma type, that might be a spot that purely noted, incidentally on a skin check, or it might be something that’s itchy, bleeding, doesn’t heal, maybe it’s a pink scaly spot, those would all be descriptors that we hear or see with the non melanoma types of skin cancer. Now, with melanoma, most of the time those tend to be somewhat funny looking brown spots. Not all the time, occasionally melanoma can be pink in color. For instance, but the classic looking melanoma is a funny looking brown spot that stands out from other spots and may notice to be changing over time.”

We asked him what a common misconception about skin cancer is. He told us that many people think they only need to focus on skin cancer prevention as an adult.

“I think it’s a little bit underrated about the value of being at least mindful of the potential effects from the sun from younger ages,” explained Dr. Raisanen. “Now, I don’t think we need to go into extremes and be hiding from the sun and afraid to go outside, but I think generally being aware of it, either for ourselves or for our kids, we’re trying to cut back on some of those bad sunburns, the tanning bed use, heavy tanning, for those possible benefits that might not be realized or evident until that particular person is of an older age where that’s when those sun damage events from the past seem to then pop up and we are seeing the skin cancers, the pre cancers, the sun damage, changes that happen on our skin.”

He also told us the best ways to prevent skin cancer are to apply sunscreen, wear sun protective clothing, and to avoid tanning beds completely.

If there is a spot on your skin that you are worried about, you can get it checked by a dermatologist.

For more information on Aspirus Health’s Dermatology Clinic, you can find their website here.