May brings sun, warmer weather, and opportunities to go to the beach. But it also brings hazards many people don’t spend much time thinking about: melanoma and other types of skin cancer. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer during the course of their lifetime. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers cases are diagnosed in over two million people annually, and there are more new cases of skin cancer every year than the combined number of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has declared the month of May as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month as a way to encourage the public to learn more about these types of cancer and what each individual can do to help stop it.
Did you know that all types of skin cancer can be cured if detected and treated early enough? There are also ways to identify and treat precancerous lesions before they transition into cancer. Early detection is key, and the AAD has developed a five-part analysis system called ABCDE that lets the public know what early warning signs of skin cancer to look for. If you have a mole, spot, or growth somewhere on your body, watch for these signs:
A – is for asymmetry: one half is not like the other.
B – is for border irregularity: the edges are ragged or poorly defined.
C – is for color variation: the color or darkness of the area is different from one area to another.
D – is for diameter: melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) in diameter, but when initially diagnosed, they can be smaller.
E – is for evolution: a mole or skin lesion may look different from the rest and change in size, shape, or color over time.
If detected too late, skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body and result in death. If you have any signs or symptoms that seem worrisome, please don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. Meritage Medial Network members offer dermatology services that include the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of skin problems and skin cancers, and we serve patients of all ages, from newborns to adults, as well as provide annual screening checks for high-risk patients. Find a practice that’s right for you using the “Find a doctor” tool on our homepage.
Skin Cancer Facts(Skin Cancer Foundation)
Skin Cancer Facts (Skin Cancer Foundation)
Melanoma: Signs and Symptoms (American Academy of Dermatology)