With summer approaching and more and more people getting vaccinated for COVID-19, many San Diegans eagerly anticipate the season best known for outdoor activities. But with more time in the sun comes the need for sun-safe practices.

During the pandemic, access to primary care and dermatology was impacted. Patients delayed important screenings and follow-up care due to lockdowns, closures and fear of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Not coincidentally, rates of skin cancer, which might have been diagnosed earlier, have risen.

“The incidence for the three major skin cancers — basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma — continue to increase, and sun-safe practices are our best option for preventing a skin cancer diagnosis,” said Gregory Daniels, MD, PhD, clinical coordinator of the Melanoma Program at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. “Like many cancers, early detection and removal is key to improving outcomes for patients with skin cancer.”

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Daniels is available to discuss the warning signs of skin cancer, best prevention practices and general information on the disease and new treatment options, including immunotherapy.