skin cancer awareness: man and woman in wide brim hats outside in a vineyard

CONTACT: Roxanne Strike


BEND, Oregon (April 2, 2024) – Oregon offers beautiful landscapes to hike, swim, kayak and bike, but those activities come with risks, including exposure to harmful UV rays. Oregonians love the outdoors and about 1,300 people in the state are diagnosed with melanoma every year – earning Oregon a spot among the top third of states in the country for this type of cancer. To recognize Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May and help residents understand the risks of sun exposure, fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon and board-certified dermatologist, Mariah Johnson with Bend Dermatology Clinic reminds Central Oregonians to stay vigilant against harmful UV rays and be 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.

“As we head into the warmer months, it’s important to wear sunscreen and skin protection, and perform head-to-toe skin checks to identify new or changing spots,” said Johnson. “If you see something that looks suspicious or different from other freckles or moles on you or a loved one, visit your board-certified dermatologist.”

Despite Oregon’s famously cloudy weather, residents should still practice sun-safe behavior when outdoors like applying and reapplying sunscreen regularly, wearing clothing that covers the arms and legs and a hat that protects the face and neck. Johnson also urges fellow Oregonians to establish these sun safety habits early with young 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%.

Johnson 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.

“Many people think our cloudy weather provides protection against the sun, but UV rays can still get through and reflect off the snow when you’re skiing and off the water when you’re at the beach. No matter the weather or climate, it is always important to incorporate sun-safe behavior into your activities,” said Johnson “It will help prevent sun damage and aging and decrease the risk of skin cancer. Our dermatology providers at Bend Dermatology Clinic are always here to help you make suncare part of your skin care.”


About Bend Dermatology Clinic

Established in 1980, Bend Dermatology Clinic cares for Oregon residents in Bend, Redmond, and Klamath Falls with patient-oriented, best-in-class dermatological expertise and cosmetic treatments. Bend Dermatology specializes in medical dermatology, Mohs Micrographic Surgery for skin cancer, and cosmetic dermatology including injectables and fillers, laser treatments, clinical peels, microneedling and more. Bend Dermatology’s team includes some of the area’s most experienced and highly trained advanced practitioners, board-certified dermatologists, fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons and aestheticians. From treating skin cancer to cosmetic dermatology to managing everyday skin, hair, and nail conditions the entire team at Bend Dermatology is dedicated to empowering patients to love their skin with effective dermatological care. Learn more at