Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.  In 2019 it is estimated that 96,480 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States.  Of those people diagnosed 7,230 will die. One person every hour dies of melanoma across the world.  If diagnosed and treated early melanoma is almost always curable.

Warning Signs of Melanoma ABCDE’s

  • Asymmetry (One half of the mole doesn’t match the other)
  • Border (The boarder is irregular and not smooth)
  • Color (Color that is not uniform)
  • Diameter (greater than 6mm or bigger than a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving (Changing in size, shape, color, or other characteristics such as itching or bleeding)

Risk Factors

  • Age- Your risk for developing melanoma increases as you age. The average ago of diagnosis is 63.  However melanoma is the NUMBER ONE most diagnosed cancer among 25-29 year olds.
  • UV Exposure- 90% of melanoma’s are directly related to UV exposure. Blistering sunburns especially in early childhood increase your risk.
  • Family History- Your risk is higher if one or more first degree relatives have been diagnosed with melanoma.
  • Personal history of melanoma or other skin cancers
  • Fair skin, freckling, and light hair increases your risk for developing melanoma

Prevention

  • Limit/Avoid UV exposure- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! But sunscreen alone is not enough. Cover up with clothes, sunglasses, and a hat.  Avoid the sun during peak hours from 10am-4pm.  Also avoid tanning beds.
  • Examine your skin- Perform a self head to toe exam monthly remembering the ABCDE’s of melanoma
  • Have a professional skin exam done by your provider once a year.

 

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