MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle Beach has the highest rate of skin cancer in the state of South Carolina.
The new data, released by Blue Cross Blue Shield Health of America, shows Myrtle Beach has 6.1 percent of the state's skin cancer diagnoses. Charleston follows closely with 6 percent and Columbia is third with 4.3 percent.
Nearly 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every single day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and more than two million people every year.
As far as Myrtle Beach ranking highest in South Carolina, Dr. Holly Glover, with Grand Strand Dermatology, said she isn't surprised to hear the statistic.
"Yes, not a surprise to me. All dermatologists in this area stay very busy performing skin examines, and looking for skin cancer and treating skin cancer in patients," Glover said.
Most sun damage occurs before the age of 20, Glover added, and it can last for years before turning into skin cancer. Still, it's never too late to start protecting your skin.
"Melanoma is the scariest type of skin cancer and it doesn't play by the rules. It can affect children, young adults and patients of any age," Glover said.
Grand Strand Dermatology sees a case of melanoma, on average, every week throughout the year, not just the summer. It is not the most common type of cancer, but Glover said since it is deadly, people hear about it more often.
Glover said melanoma can start as a mole or a skin freckle, or simply appear out of nowhere.
"If you see a dark spot, especially that's asymmetrical, has irregular borders, has many different colors, or diameter growth, or it's evolving and changing, then you need to contact your local doctor right away," she said.
Skin cancer is an epidemic across the entire United States, but people in Myrtle Beach need to be extra cautious. Glover said when anyone is outside, they need to apply sun screen every hour, wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the neck and side of the head, and look for sun protective clothing that has SPF in it
With the higher retiree population in Myrtle Beach, older patients are also more prone to get skin cancer, but Glover has seen the disease in all ages.
"I have several younger children and teenagers that come in for skin checks and some just get a baseline skin check, and if everything is fine they may not follow up for many years. But if you have a strong family history of skin cancer and if you're more fair and have a lot of moles, it's a good idea to get checked once a year starting as a young adult," Glover said.
The most common type of skin cancer is called basal cell and is usually found in a small firm papule.
"This occurs in one and five people. This type of skin cancer usually doesn't spread through the body," Glover said.
However, it's important to catch it early and most of the treatment is excising, so doctors will cut it out before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
Depending on someone's family history and type of skin, Glover recommends getting a prevention check once a year.