Pool season is just around the corner for much of the country, making now the perfect time to raise awareness about sun safety.
The American Academy of Dermatology calls today "Melanoma Monday" and is targeting one group in particular: Men over age 50.
Experts say you should tell your dermatologist if you notice any suspicious marks or moles that could indicate skin cancer.
Men over age 50 are at higher risk for developing melanoma than the general population.
"These are individuals who during their teenage years, early adulthood, probably were not using sunscreen," says Dr. Adam Friedman.
That was the case for Tom Koutsoumpas, who as a young man spent many summer days getting sunburned while sailing.
The effects of all of that sun exposure didn’t show up until age 53, when he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma.
"It was just one of those moments where your life changes from completely feeling fine to suddenly being told that you have a very aggressive cancer," he says.
After surgery and an experimental immunotherapy Tom is cancer free. He encourages his fellow men to take control of their health and get to a dermatologist for yearly screening.
The five-year survival rate for those whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads is 98-percent.
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