March 3, 2023
Raising Awareness About Melanoma
The American Academy of Dermatology established Melanoma Monday, to raise awareness of the symptoms, causes, and prevention of the disease .
Melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, is developed by 1 out of every 50 Americans at some point in their lifetime. There are many ways to prevent melanoma so it’s important to take extra time to learn how to reduce your risk!
Early detection and recognition of skin cancer are very important. More than 75% of skin cancers are diagnosed by patients or their families.
Recognizing the early warning signs of skin cancer and doing regular self-examinations of your skin can help find skin cancer early, when the disease is more likely to be cured.
There are Many Risk Factors
Red hair, more than 50 moles, a family history of melanoma, sunburns in childhood, and use of a tanning bed are all risk factors for the disease.
Melanoma is Very Treatable
While it’s true that melanoma can be deadly, it can be treatable if caught early — immediate detection is critical.
Self-examinations should be performed in front of a full-length mirror in a brightly lit room. It helps to have another person check the scalp and back of the neck. For people with fair skin, non-melanoma skin cancer most often begins in places that are frequently exposed to the sun. For people with darker skin, squamous cell carcinoma often occurs in areas that are not as frequently exposed to the sun, such as the lower legs.
Include the following steps in a skin self-examination:
- Examine the front and back of the entire body in a mirror, then the right and left sides, with arms raised.
- Bend the elbows and look carefully at the outer and inner forearms, upper arms (especially the hard-to-see back portion), and hands.
- Look at the front, sides, and back of the legs and feet, including the soles and the spaces between the toes.
- Part the hair to lift it and examine the back of the neck and scalp with a hand mirror.
- Check the back, genital area, and buttocks with a hand mirror.
Talk with your doctor if you notice anything or have any concern
What You Can Do to Prevent
Stay out of the sun for lower risk
The most impactful way to lower your risk of Melanoma is simple — practice sun safety and avoid being in the sun for long periods of time!
Use sunscreen lotion and wear protective clothing. Do not use tanning beds and make sure to do regular skin checks.