Skin Cancer is the #1 most diagnosed cancer, and it continues to increase in prevalence. Every year, over 1 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed. Almost 60,000 each year are diagnosed with melanoma, which is a more serious skin cancer. About 7,800 of the 10,600 skin cancer deaths are caused by melanoma. The non-melanoma cases have been on the rise and are a cause for concern. Most cases of skin cancer are due to long-term or intense sun exposure, tanning beds, increased exposure to UV light, ozone depletion, and increased detection.
What can you do?
• Yearly skin exams by your doctor, and monthly self- exams can help with early detection.
• You should check all areas of your body – even those not exposed to the sun such as scalp, palms of hands, soles of feet, underarms, etc. Use a mirror for places that are hard to see.
Look for the “ABCDs” of moles and melanoma
Most melanomas are asymmetric (a line drawn through the middle would not split it evenly in half).
Melanomas have irregular borders, scalloped edges or notched edges. Normal moles have a smoother border.
Melanomas have varied shades of brown, tan or black, and may later progress to red, white and blue. Normal moles are usually a single shade of brown.
A melanoma may be larger than a regular mole, or at least the size of a pencil eraser. They may also be smaller.
Smart Sun Exposure
• Get some sun, but don’t stay out long enough to get burned
• Use a sunblock of SPF 20 or higher
• Use a hat, umbrella and sunglasses (UV-absorbing lenses) to block the sun
• Avoid tanning beds
• People with dark skin may need 6-10 times more sun exposure to get healthy levels of Vitamin D
Health Realizations, Inc. / The Skin Cancer Foundation / The American Cancer Society