A Few Last Words on Skin Cancer Awareness…

May 31, 2011 | posted by Justin Skeesuck

Over the holiday weekend, I heard a very sad story about a young man (in his 30’s) who died of cancer that had spread to his brain as a result of letting a skin cancer go untreated.  He had a spot on his chest that was small, but started to itch and feel irritated.  Over a few months’ time, the spot grew, and then became an open sore.  It wasn’t until the open sore grew in size that he decided to seek treatment – but by that point, the cancer had spread in his body.

We have been sharing a lot this month about the dangers of melanoma, as May is National Skin Cancer Awareness month – but the awareness doesn’t end at the end of the day today.  Melanoma is highly treatable when detected early.  Remember that melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, including areas that do not get direct exposure to the sun.  Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of melanoma by the A-B-C-D-E’s:

A = Aysmmetry:  There are not two equal sides when you draw a line down the middle of the mole.

B= Borders: The borders are uneven with early melanoma.  You may see scalloped or notched edges.

C= Color: A variety of colors including brown, tan or black; even red, blue or other shades are present.

D= Diameter: Generally, melanomas are larger than the end of a pencil eraser, but can be smaller when first detected.

E= Evolving: Any change in size, shape, feeling, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting could be an early sign.

For more information, please check out the Skin Cancer Foundation website: http://www.skincancer.org/melanoma/Warning-Signs.html

Also, practice SAFE SUN.  Seek shade during the most sun-intense times of the day (from 10am to 3pm).  Do not let yourself get sunburned.  Stay AWAY from tanning beds.  Wear UPF-clothing and hats.  Use at least 1 ounce (the size of a shot glass) of broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Active Shield or Ultra Shield Lotion every day on all exposed parts of the body, whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside.  Examine your skin monthly, and see a dermatologist every year for a thorough skin exam.

Enjoy your summer!