EUGENE, Ore. -- Approximately 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
On May 7, 2012, dermatologists across the country have been spreading the word about the dangers of ultraviolet rays for national melanoma Monday.
Doctor Jay Park, a skin cancer surgeon in Eugene, said Oregonians are more at risk than people in other states.
“When we do get sun, I think we make up for it,” said Park at his office.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Oregonians get skin cancer at a rate 36 percent higher than the national average.
Park said ethnicity in Oregon is partially to blame for the high rate of skin cancer in the state, but that human behavior is the real culprit.
“People that go tanning tend to keep going tanning,” added Park, “and all that exposure added to the sun they’ve already gotten just isn’t good.”
Park said he sees thousands of patients each year at his office, and the practice is only growing.
"It's the fastest growing cancer, period; and it is the number one cancer,” said Park.
To be clear, Dr. Park said skin cancer is the most common cancer. He said melanoma is only one type of skin caner, and Park said it's one of the more rare and deadly forms.