Whether you're hitting the beach on Galveston Island, or boating Lake Houston, the hot summer sun poses a real health risk if you're not covered up.

Each year more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US, over 90 percent of which are caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Houston transplant Emily Black was just 20-years-old when she forced to quit college after being diagnosed with metastatic melanoma.

"I had a mole on my skin that had changed, it was actually on my back so it wasn't something that I looked at on a regular basis," Black tells KTRH News.  "My mom noticed it and encouraged me to go to the dermatologist."

"Within a month we realized it was stage four, which is the most advanced it could be, and it had spread into my vital organs," she says.

"At that point my doctor told me I may have a year to live, so it was very, very serious," says Black.

Thanks to a clinical trial, Black is now 27-year-old and married. 

She is now sharing her story with others through a website aimed at educating the public about the dangers of skin cancer.