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"Melanoma Monday" emphasizes importance of regular cancer screening, healthy sun habits

Melanoma Awareness Month begins 02:05

MINEOLA, N.Y. - The first Monday in May is known as Melanoma Monday, and it kicks off Melanoma Awareness Month. 

Survivors and doctors tell CBS2 the deadliest form of skin cancer is treatable, when caught early. 

CBS2's Jennifer McLogan has some advice from the experts. 

Memorial Day is just weeks away: Sleeping in the sun, paddling on reflective waters, very few lathering on the sunscreen. 

Bad habits can change to save lives. 

Various survivors spoke out Monday in celebration. 

Colette Coyne of New Hyde Park is the founder of Melanoma Awareness campaign. She has fought for two decades to save lives in the name of her late daughter, also named Colette. 

"She was the spark in our family. She was a special gift," Coyne said. "There was no one speaking about skin cancer when she passed. She passed five and a half months after her diagnosis." 

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, spreads quickly, strikes the young, and is treatable when caught early. 

"It is imperative for all people to wear sunscreen every single day," said Dr. Adrienne Haughton of Stony Brook Medicine. 

That's true for cloudy and rainy days, too. 

Although people with fairer skin are at higher risk, those of darker skin types can develop skin cancer. It is often detected at a later stage when the prognosis is worse.

Many never got checked during the pandemic. 

"And at this point, we are seeing patients coming in again for the first time in over 2-3 years and we are diagnosing people with skin cancer," Haughton said. 

The World Health Organization predicts melanomas will increase 50%. 

"You can get melanoma in your eyes. You can get melanoma on the soles of your feet," said Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein. 

Dermatologists say tanning beds are to be avoided. 

"Make sure you use sunscreen, put on a hat, wear your sunglasses. Be good," said Dr. Ted Daly of Garden City. 

There is no such thing as a healthy tan. 

On Saturday, Stony Brook Medicine will host a sun safety event for families at the Smith Haven Mall. CLICK HERE for more information.

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