skin cancer awareness: man and woman in wide-brim hats out side in vineyard

CONTACT: Roxanne Strike


SPOKANE, Wash. (April 2, 2024) – The rate of melanoma skin cancer in Spokane County is declining, but residents should continue to practice safe sun-care when outside. To recognize Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May and help residents understand the risks of sun exposure, board-certified dermatologists, Paul Dunn, Staci Hestdalen and J. Keith Parker with Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery remind residents to be vigilant against harmful UV rays and aware of pervasive social media skin care myths.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States with 9,500 people diagnosed every day. Prevention and early detection are critical and when diagnosed early, skin cancer is highly treatable. If left untreated, it can cause disfigurement or become deadly.

“I remind my patients to wear sunscreen any time they’re exposed to the sun and encourage them to remind their loved ones to do the same,” said Dunn. “Spokane residents should perform head-to-toe skin checks for unusual spots. If you see a suspicious spot or lesion that’s new or changing, visit your board-certified dermatologist.”

Despite Washington’s famously mild and rainy weather, residents should still practice sun-safe behavior when outdoors, like regularly applying and reapplying sunscreen, wearing clothing that covers the arms and legs and a hat that protects the face and neck. Hestdalen recommends starting these habits early so that they become routine for younger family members.

In recent years, social media influencers have perpetuated false claims that sunscreen is harmful and, in some extreme cases, that unfiltered exposure to UV rays is healthy. In fact, when used as directed, sunscreen can decrease the risk of skin cancer and skin precancer by 40 to 50%.

Parker also reminds people to protect their eyes with sunglasses that block UV rays. People with fair skin should be especially aware of their UV exposure, but people with all skin tones are at risk and should take precautions. Other risk factors for skin cancer include a history of five or more sunburns, a history of indoor or outdoor tanning, family history of skin cancer or personal previous skin cancer.

Skin cancer is not the only outcome of UV exposure. UV rays from the sun or tanning beds can cause premature aging of the skin, including wrinkles, leathery skin and liver spots. UV exposure can also cause cataracts and a weakened immune system.

“It’s never too late to start practicing sun-safe behavior and it’s never too late to start treating signs of sun damage,” said Dunn. “Our dermatology providers at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery are here to answer your skin-related questions so you find the right preventative treatments for your lifestyle.”


About Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery

Trusted since 1991, Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery provides the Spokane and Inland Northwest community with industry-leading Medical Dermatology, Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery, and Cosmetic Dermatology care. Our Medical Providers deliver a comprehensive scope of services and cover an expansive geographical area, enabling us to provide care to as many patients as possible. We pride ourselves on being a market leader with cutting-edge technology and lasers, so patients have access to world-class dermatology. Learn more at