Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer? Approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. That means approximately one in five Americans develop skin cancer. While melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it is the most dangerous. It is responsible for 10,000 American lives lost every year and is the second most common form of cancer in females ages 15 to 29. The good news is that skin cancer is also the most preventable cancer.
To raise awareness of melanoma and to encourage annual skin checks to help prevent skin cancer in general, the American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday.
Who gets melanoma?
People of all colors and races get melanoma. Those with light skin who sunburn easily are at higher risk. If you have any of the following risk factors, you need to take extra caution in protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun:
- History of sunburns
- Family history of skin cancer
- Exposure to X-rays
- Use of tanning beds or sunlamps
What does melanoma look like?
Melanoma often develops in a mole or appears suddenly as a new dark spot on the skin. Be on the lookout for changes in moles, and if you see irregular edges or unusual colors in a mole, schedule a visit with your Water’s Edge Dermatology provider right away. Catching melanoma early (before it can spread) is key to stopping it. Even though melanoma can be deadly, survival rates can be greater than 90% when treated early.
Tips to help prevent melanoma:
- Wear broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more on exposed skin
- Cover up with a hat and clothing
- Stay in the shade when possible, especially 10am-4pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest
- Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen
- Avoid tanning beds, which can cause skin cancer and wrinkling
- Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice any skin changes, skin growths or bleeding on your skin, see a Water’s Edge Dermatology practitioner immediately
In addition to doing self-exams on your birthday, May is a great month to schedule a skin check by a highly specialized skin care expert. At Water’s Edge Dermatology, our providers are experts in spotting melanoma and treating it early with procedures just right for each of our valued patients. Be safe and schedule your skin cancer check now.
Request an appointment with one of our skin care experts at Water’s Edge Dermatology or call (877) 533-8214.