RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – With warm, summer weather finally here and COVID-19 restrictions easing, people may now be spending more time outside. That can be a deadly risk if you’re not careful and informed.

Angela Bakker, an Australian native now living in the Biggest Little City in the World with her husband and two kids, enjoys being outdoors.

“I wear a lot of sunscreen, I wear hats, I’m very, very good with my skin as of the last 10 years, but unfortunately that doesn’t really matter,” Bakker said, “It’s the damage you do when you’re younger that will come back to haunt you and it absolutely has come back to haunt me.”

About four weeks ago, Bakker received the daunting news that she had Nodular Melanoma.

“It’s very aggressive and it takes lives quickly,” Bakker added.

She was having a zoom girls night, and one of the attendees was her dermatologist, Dr. Billie Casse. That’s when Bakker said she noticed a spot on her leg looked a little different.

“A three-millimeter freckle looked nice and uniform brown, there was nothing to it other than her saying that it changed for the reason why I took it,” Dr. Billie Casse, Board Certified Dermatologist with Nevada Center for Dermatology said. “Thank God I took it because it was a Nodular Melanoma, and it was probably the most unlike-looking Melanoma that I have seen.”

Bakker went in for surgery to remove the freckle and three sentinel lymph nodes. Last week, she received the glorious call that the cancer had not spread.

Dr. Casse encourages you to protect yourself from the sun by using at least a 30 to 50 SPF water resistant sunscreen and covering up any exposed skin.

“Five sunburns double your risk of melanoma,” Dr. Casse added.

She also says to follow the ABCDE rule when examining yourself:

-Look for Asymmetry
-If the Borders are irregular
-The Color is changing
-Difference in Diameter, and
-If the spot is Evolving.

“Get to know your body,” Dr. Casse said. “When you’re in the shower look around, know what your moles are and know when somethings new.”

Bakker added, “It puts life in perspective; Once upon a time I wanted a tan because it made me feel beautiful and now I’m really proud that I have a three-inch scar on my leg because it means I’m still here.”

Melanoma has no age or gender limit. Now is the time to make sun safety an everyday habit.

If you have a mole or spot that you want to get checked out, call a local dermatologist to schedule an appointment. Some locations are also offering Tele-medicine.

For more information about melanoma and skin cancers, click here. For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.