Melanoma Monday: Skin cancer cases are on the rise, dermatologists urge people to protect themselves. If you are going to be in the sun, in a long drive in the car or sit near windows, Make sure you use sunscreen, which is the one way to help deter to getting melanoma. Not all sunscreens are alike – look for those that have UVA and UVB protection. There are numerous types available for order on Amazon.
Sunscreen can also help to deter other forms of skin cancer. There are three main categories of skin cancer, with melanoma being just one. Melanoma may not be totally visible to you because it can develop on different parts of your body, even your the bottom of your feet or your eyes.
How to spot melanoma? Other than scheduling an annual visit for a mole scan with your dermatologist or doctor, learn these ABCs:
- A – Asymmetry: one half of the melanoma does not match the other
- B – Border irregularity: Ragged edges, notched or blurred appearance
- C – Color: Not uniform in color, different shades of brown or tan, specks of red, white, or blue
- D – Diameter: Size that is usually, but not always, larger than 6 mm in diameter (about ¼ in.)
- E – Evolving: Visually different from other moles or skin lesions; appears to be changing in size, shape, or color
The risk of melanoma is increased in patients who:
- Have fair skin, red or blond hair, and blue eyes, and especially the combination
- Have a history of chronic and intense exposure to sunlight, including use of tanning salons or personal tanning equipment
- Are more likely to sunburn rather than tan
- Have a history of sunburn at an early age, especially multiple episodes of sunburn
- Have a personal or family history of skin cancer
- Have 50 or more moles, whether typical or atypical
via Recognizing Melanoma: What It Is, What It Isn’t
In addition, there are various types of melanoma:
- Superficial spreading melanoma
- Nodular melanoma
- Acral-lentiginous melanoma
- Lentigo maligna melanoma
- Amelanotic and desmoplastic melanomas
- Ocular melanoma
Melanoma can spread to your organs. When this happens, it is called metastatic melanoma, spreading to the lungs, liver, bone and/or brain.
The ADA website has a great article with photos and tips regarding how to first spot skin cancer. The quicker you identify it, the less chance it will spread.
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