Jumping into May, which is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the 7th is Melanoma Monday. The 7th is a day centered on raising awareness of the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
As the most common cancer in the United States, melanoma on average kills one person every hour. Fortunately, if caught early, the cancer is highly treatable.
The cancer is also readily detectable by nearly anyone who knows what to look for. The American Academy of Dermatology encourages everyone to take necessary steps to detect the cancer early when it is the most treatable.
In teaching the public how to protect themselves and even perform a self-examination to identify the warning signs of melanoma, they are saving lives. They also aim to help others find free SPOTme cancer screenings near them.
How Can You Tell if You Have Melanoma or Another Form of Skin Cancer?
Knowing your ABCDEs of melanoma can help you when searching for signs on your own body:
• A for asymmetry
• B for border irregularity
• C for varying color
• D for diameter, often larger than a pencil eraser
• E for evolving, or a change in size, shape or color over time
Should you see any new or strange looking spots on your skin, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist. This includes if you have any spots that have changed, are itching or bleeding,
For protection, the AAD says that staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing is important. At the very least, it’s essential to have on sunscreen. Preferably water-resistant with an SPF of at least 30.
Survivors of skin cancer tend to be more vigilant about skin exams. A study showed that men who had nonmelanoma skin cancer had a lower risk of dying from melanoma than those without that history.
Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD, the president of the American Academy of Dermatology, says that everyone regardless of their medical history should perform regular skin self-examinations.
Along with Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the AAD released a new public service advertisement called Caught It. This advertisement encourages men 50 and older to pay attention to their skin to catch possible skin cancers before it’s too late.
Dr. Olbricht does say that people of any age, race, or gender should keep an eye on their bodies for new spots that meet the before mentioned criteria.