Know the signs of this dangerous type of skin cancer
This May is Melanoma Awareness month. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, and for this reason, it’s very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of this disease. Most types of skin cancer can be cured if they are caught in the very early stages. Melanoma is the most serious of them all.
The American Academy of Dermatology, the Melanoma Research Alliance, and other melanoma organizations are campaigning during the month of May to promote awareness and raise funds for research.
One of the main messages of the May campaign is the importance of early detection. There is an easy-to-remember method for checking yourself for melanoma. It’s the ABCDE’s of examining your skin. When examining your skin, you should look for moles or growths that are:
B = irregular border
C = change in color
D = diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser
E = evolved in size or thickness
If you notice one or more of these signs, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. It is recommended that you check your skin every month. In addition, there are other early detection and prevention suggestions. These practices will help reduce your chance of getting melanoma:
- Stay out of the sun! Especially try to avoid the hours between 10am and 4pm.
- Use sunscreen. You should re-apply it every 2 hours, and after you sweat or swim.
- Make sure your sunscreen has an SPF of 15 or higher.
- Cover your skin if you have to be in the sun. This should include hats with protective brims, long pants, and long sleeved shirts.
- Check your skin every month for suspicious moles or growths.
- Never use tanning beds.
- Ask your doctor if you are at higher risk for melanoma; if you are, have a dermatologist check your skin on a regular basis.
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, an estimated one in five people will develop skin cancer during their lifetimes. Do you have concerns about your skin? Or do you want to get a baseline check on your skin? If so, you can ask your physician or dermatologist to check you regularly. Or you can get free spot checks through the American Academy of Dermatologists. Check their SPOTme® Skin Cancer Screening searchable database to see when the next free screening is occurring in your area.
We hope this blog post has helped to increase your awareness of melanoma. This May—and throughout the calendar year—do your body a favor, and take the time to examine and protect your skin. It could save your life!
The Salter School wants to be part of raising awareness about skin cancers—especially melanoma—during Melanoma Awareness Month. Our school provides career-focused education for people wanting to become medical assistants, medical billing and coding specialists, and massage therapists. Find out more right here.