Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Anyone can get melanoma. When found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Allowed to grow, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can spread quickly. When melanoma spreads, it can be deadly. Dermatologists believe that the number of deaths from melanoma would be much lower if people:

  • Knew the warning signs of melanoma.
  • Learned how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer.
  • Took the time to examine their skin.
  • Melanoma has a genetic component. If you have a family member who has had melanoma, you have 50% greater chance of developing melanoma and should be checked once a year.

Protect yourself

  • Wear sunscreen with zinc and at least SPF 30 every day. You are exposed to the sun’s rays simply driving in your car and walking by windows at home or work. The best sunscreens contain zinc oxide. This ingredient will protect you from both UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays) radiation.
  • Avoid the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Try to stay under an umbrella or shade trees.
  • Use waterproof sunscreen at the pool or beach. One adult should use 2 tablespoons of sunscreen. A family of four will go through one and a half 8 oz bottles of sunscreen in two days. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your scalp, face, and neck.
  • Wear protective clothing. You can purchase UV protective clothing at REI or L.L. Bean. If you can see through a shirt when you hold it up to the light, it will not protect your skin from the sun.
  • Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection will help prevent damage to your eyes.

An Important Fact to Remember…..

  • Remember that an annual full body check is vitally important. It’s not fool-proof and you need to do regular self-examinations. If you notice any skin changes or feel an area was missed, call the office for an appointment.  It’s important to take time to look at the moles on your skin because this is a good way to find melanoma early. When checking your skin, you should look for the ABCDEs of melanoma.

What to look for: The ABCDEs of melanoma

Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots exhibit:

              asymmetry melanoma    A = Asymmetry One half is unlike the other half.

              border melanoma    B = Border An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border

              color melanoma    C = Color Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan,                                                           brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

              diameter melanoma    D = Diameter Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size                                                         of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

              evolving melanoma    E = Evolving A mole or skin lesion that looks different                                                                from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

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