Melanoma Awareness Month
Malignant Melanoma and other skin cancers, to include Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are on the rise accounting for over a million cases of skin cancer a year. Melanoma is currently the most common malignancy in women 25 – 29 years old. There are over 96,000 newly diagnosed cases of melanoma a year and accounts for 10,000 deaths per year. Melanoma can appear flat or elevated with variations of browns, reds, and black coloration. It can even appear flesh-colored or pink, like an insect bit, which is referred to as an amelanotic melanoma. These types of melanomas are commonly overlooked or misdiagnosed. The good news is that all three types of skin cancer, even melanoma can be easily treated if detected early. This is why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends having a skin exam done once yearly to screen for skin cancer. Also with summer approaching it is key that you are protecting yourself from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Follow these simple rules to decrease your risk of skin cancer, assist in early detection of melanoma, and protect yourself from the sun:
- Seek shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear sunglasses, UV hats, and UV clothing.
- Do not allow yourself to burn: one single burn increases your risk of melanoma.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and 1.5 times likely to develop basal cell carcinoma (BCC). And overall chances of developing melanoma are tripled.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher with UVA and UVB protection. It is recommended to use a physical block, which contains either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
- Keep infants out of direct sunlight. They possess little melanin and are much more susceptible to burns.
- Examine your skin from head to toe once every month.
- Look for cancer warning signs: itching, bleeding or a new mole that appears after age 21 that is bigger than a pencil eraser. Check all moles for the ABCDs of Melanoma.
- A – Asymmetry
- B- Border Irregularity
- C – Color Variations or Changes (may be black, variations of brown, pink and red)
- D – Diameter (is the mole bigger than a pencil eraser and developed after the age of 21 years of age)
- And remember if you see anything suspicious see a dermatology healthcare provider right away.
Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C with Allele Medical and Hudson Medical Wellness has 18 years of dermatology experience and is offering $50 skin cancer screenings and a free sunscreen during the month of May. (while supplies last)
To learn more and schedule an appointment please contact:
Laura Johnson at 407-590-9002