This May, Let’s Take Note of Melanoma Awareness Month

This May, Let's Talk About Melanoma Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Melanoma Awareness Month? Melanoma has affected countless lives, and continues to do so, which is why it is so essential to have a conversation about this type of skin cancer. The more we talk about it, the better we are able to prevent and detect it. At Summit Skin & Vein Care, we are passionate about healthy skin, and we’d like to open up the conversation to inform more people about melanoma in the hopes of helping people detect skin cancer early.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. It is also one of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S., and, unfortunately, it is on the rise. In the past 30 years, rates of melanoma have tripled, even while other cancer rates have decreased. Melanoma is a typically malignant tumor comprised of melanin-forming cells. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays like UV-A and UV-B is the most significant cause of melanoma.

Prevention and Early Detection of Melanoma

When it comes to melanoma, like most cancers, early detection is key. When detected early, the 10-year survival rate can be as high as 95%. However, when detected later, the 10-year survival rate drops as low as 24%. The most important thing you can do to help prevent the formation of skin cancer in the first place is to take steps to limit your exposure to UV rays.

Things like wearing a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen, wearing UV-protective clothing, avoiding going out in the sun during the mid-day, and staying clear of tanning beds all contribute to healthier skin and a lower chance of skin cancer. Those with fair skin, eyes and hair and those with a family history of skin cancer are at an increased risk and should be especially careful.

Detecting skin cancer early greatly increases survival rates. Skin specialists recommend looking for the ABCDEs of melanoma to help detect the cancer. That is, asymmetrical, irregular border, changes in color, diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and an evolved size or thickness. If you detect any of these signs in moles or other spots on your skin, you should have your skin examined by a dermatologist as soon as possible.

How Can You Get Involved?

Melanoma Awareness Month is all about spreading the word about melanoma prevention and detection in order to save lives. If you’re looking for ways to help the cause, check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website for the opportunity to donate to help the Foundation reach out and inform more people about skin cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. The American Academy of Dermatology is also running a campaign with the hashtag #LookingGoodin2016. They’re inviting individuals to share their own stories about why skin health is important. You can also use #LookingGoodin2016 to share with us on Facebook what skin health means to you.

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