What do you need to know about Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention?
May is melanoma/skin cancer detection and prevention month. During May and beyond, we should all do our part to raise awareness and encourage people to protect and check their skin.
There are three core types of skin cancer; they are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. BCC and SCC, are the standard forms, and are easily treated when diagnosed early but may cause damage to surrounding tissue. SCC can have more extreme effects should it spread to the lymph nodes and other organs. To identify the less alarming basal and squamous cell carcinomas, see your doctor at the first sign of any pink spots recurring in the same place or you experience signs of irritation.
As for Melanoma, you should do frequent skin examinations. A dermatologist should examine occurrences or indications of any of the following:
- Asymmetrical – mole or growth that is uneven
- Border – mole or growth with an irregular border
- Color – mole or growth multiple colors or shading
- Diameter – diameter is larger than the size of a pea
- Evolved – mole developing bigger in size or texture
Since Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, we would like to share more information about the causes and effects. Melanoma progresses from melanocytes, the cells that deliver melanin – the pigment that gives hair and skin color. Early diagnosis and remedy increase the chances of a speedy recovery. Finding the signs of melanoma will avoid the marks from moving deeper into the skin or moving to other places on the body. Melanoma treatment options can become more involved, once it spreads to other parts of the body beyond the skin.
Sun exposure is a culprit that can place you in danger and possibly diagnosed with melanoma or other forms of skin cancer. Avoid extended sun exposure. Cover up – wear protective clothing and shield your body with sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, and hat. Wear sunscreen – make sunscreen a daily habit. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen, those that protect against UVA and UVB rays, and with at least 30 SPF.
The best deterrent is to limit your time in the sun. The shade and cloudy weather can be deceiving. Take care of yourself and your skin in these instances, as well. UV radiation will damage skin even in the winter months and on cloudy days. Avoid peak rays, when the sun’s rays are most intense. And for the record, tanning beds are out. Research shows that indoor tanning beds increase the risk of Melanoma by 75%. In addition to protecting yourself, remember to protect your children. Severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence can increase a child’s chances of discovering melanoma later in life.
Early detection is important. Found early, most cases of melanoma and skin cancer are treatable. You should always focus to “protect and detect” – yourself from melanoma and skin cancer. As always, seek professional medical advice or consult your physician with any questions or concerns.
Thanks for reading! The Options for Senior Living (OFSL) team is making every effort to bring education and awareness to our community. The article shared here is an example of this initiative. We will continuously seek to bring you relevant content and resources about various topics and issues.
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