Here comes the sun, so be prepared

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

By: Molly Soto


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Nice weather is coming, and with it comes the sun.

 

May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Protection Month, aimed at raising awareness about melanoma, a form of skin cancer in which skin cells become cancerous and can spread to other areas of the body, and other skin cancers. 

 

It’s so important. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s estimated that there will be more than 160,000 new cases of melanoma in 2017.  It’s on the rise.

 

Melanoma isn’t the most common form of skin cancer, but it’s the deadliest.  Approximately 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.  It’s not just a disease that affects older people.  Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 25 to 30 and the second-leading cause of cancer death in women ages 30 to 35.

 

Melanoma can strike anyone, however, there are certain individuals that are at higher risk.  Some of these risk factors include:

  • Skin color – Caucasian with light skin
  • Amount – if you have more than 50 moles
  • Hair color - redheads and blonds
  • Tanning – sun and tanning bed exposure

If you notice a mole on your skin, follow the ABCDE rule:

Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.

Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.

Change: The color isn’t consistent. Different shades and/or dashes of color may be present. Look for red, white, blue and black discoloration.

Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm (a little larger than a pencil eraser).

Elevated or evolving: It looks different than the rest or is changing in size, shape or color. Do you have a flat lesion that has become raised?

 

Early detection is key.  If you can detect melanoma before it spreads, you have a 98 percent chance of cure.

 

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone do a head-to-toe self-examination of their skin every month. The back is the most common site for malignant melanoma in men, and the legs are the more common site for malignant melanoma in women, so you may wish to have someone help check those areas.

 

You may want to have a dermatology service provider do a full-body exam first, to assure you that any existing spots, freckles or moles are normal, or to treat any that may not be. 

 

To request an appointment for dermatology services with Nick Grimm, PA-C, at Plastic Surgery & Skin Specialists by BayCare Clinic, please use our online form.

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