Month of May Designated As National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Dr. Justin Piasecki, Washington Doctor and Mohs Surgery Expert, at Forefront of Skin Cancer

Doctor Cautions Against Prolonged Exposure to Sun

GIG HARBOR, Washington (May 6, 2014) – Recognized as the most common cause of cancer in the United States, skin cancer accounts for approximately half of all the cancers in the country. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, with the incidences of skin cancer outnumbering all cases of breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined. With the month of May designated as National Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Justin Piasecki, M.D. - a board certified plastic surgeon and founder of Harbor Plastic Surgery Center in Gig Harbor, Washington – encourages individuals now more than ever to pay special attention to any unusual growths or marks on their skin, and to make a concerted effort to protect their skin from increased exposure to the sun.

“With summer right around the corner, more and more people will be spending time outdoors, and many may not be aware of the damage the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can do to their skin if left unprotected,” said Dr. Piasecki. “While the location of where a person lives can determine the intensity of the rays throughout the day, in just 15 minutes UV rays can cause sunburns and suntans, both of which damage the skin. In the most severe cases, prolonged exposure can cause skin cancer, which is the most preventative type of cancer.”

Of the three most common types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma – melanoma causes the vast majority of deaths from skin cancer.  Individuals most at risk for skin cancer include those with blonde or red hair; individuals who possess lighter skin naturally; and those with a family history of melanoma or other skin cancers.

As the only physician in the world who has completed a Mohs (skin cancer) fellowship and earned board certifications from the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Piasecki has pioneered a treatment known as plastic micrographic surgery. Mohs micrographic surgery is an extremely precise and less invasive procedure that removes cancerous tissue one layer at a time. Dr. Piasecki takes the Mohs procedure a step further by performing cosmetic or reconstructive surgery immediately following the Mohs technique, enabling patients to undergo both procedures in one office visit.

Dr. Piasecki has been performing plastic micrographic surgery at Harbor Plastic Surgery Center for the past five years.  A graduate of Stanford University and Vanderbilt Medical School, Dr. Piasecki received his formal training in Mohs micrographic surgery from the University of British Columbia.

In order to help protect oneself from skin cancer, Dr. Piasecki offers the following updated skin care tips:

  • Avoid peak hours – In order to reduce the risk of skin cancer, individuals should avoid being in the sun during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are at their strongest.
  • Use sunscreen – Experts suggest wearing a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher every day. For extended periods of sun exposure, a sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher is recommended.
  • Cover up – Be sure to cover up exposed areas of skin by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses that wrap around the eyes, and appropriate clothing to cover arms and legs.
  • Avoid indoor tanning – Indoor tanning methods utilizing tanning beds, tanning booths, or sunlamps should be avoided as they can expose users to harmful UV rays.

About Harbor Plastic Surgery Center

Located in Gig Harbor, Washington, Harbor Plastic Surgery Center is a small, boutique practice that prides itself on providing the highest level of care and service to its patients. The practice specializes in breast and body contouring, facial cosmetic surgery, minimally invasive procedures, and Mohs surgery. In addition to his duties at Harbor Plastic Surgery Center, Dr. Justin Piasecki also directs the internationally-acclaimed Skin Cancer Center and the Medicare Certified Operating Room, accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). For additional information, please visit

Media Contact:  Diana Soltesz
(818) 592-6747