Monday, February 24, 2014

Melanoma - The Ugly Duckling Mole

By Lisa VanWilliams

As a child in the 70's & 80's we would spend hours on the beach while vacationing and swimming in the pool with minimal sun screen, and then as teenagers we would spend hours laying out by the pool slathering the baby oil on. When we could not tan by the pool, we went to the tanning salons.

Now with 40 hovering close by my door, a family with two young children to care for, and enough freckles and moles to connect the dots for the complete constellation, I go for twice yearly melanoma body screenings and slather on the sunscreen. Skin cancer was not something you heard as much about "back then" as you do now. I know people who have had it, and I know some people's lives that have been forever changed by it.

The American Cancer Society states the following estimates for 2014 in America:
  •   About 76,100 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 43,890 in men and 32,210 in women).*
  •   About 9,710 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,470 men and 3,240 women).* 
 There are some simple checks you do to try an prevent this less common cancer by affecting you and those you love.  Know your risk factors, watch your moles for changes, if you have fair skin and light hair, if your African American you could be at higher risk (20x more common*), and if you have a family history are just a few factors to consider. Early detection is important and you can use your "ABC's" to check yourself:
  • Asymmetry
  • Borders (irregular)
  • Color (variegated)
  • Diameter (greater than 6 mm (0.24 in), about the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving over time*

If you question something, go see your dermatologist and do not delay. Apply sunscreen on yourself and children regularly when out in the sun and try to prevent burns.



No comments:

Post a Comment