Keeping you up-to-date with the latest skincare developments – the Village Blog.

May 3, 2016

Skin Cancer and Melanoma

Melanoma – By: Dr. Lauren Hughey

Lauren Hughey, MD

As we get ready for summer, let us remember that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Can you believe the most common cancer in the US is skin cancer? Knowing that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime   (that is 8500 people diagnosed each day in the U.S.!), it’s important to think about prevention and early detection strategies. Most people are under the misconception that a mole is only bad if it is black, but skin cancers can be clear, pink, brown, or red too. Melanomas are the deadliest form of skin cancer. 1 person dies of melanoma every hour. The rate of melanomas in the US has doubled from 1982 to 2011, and melanoma rates are rising faster in young females age 15-29 compared to their male counterparts.   Melanoma can appear in normal skin or within a pre-existing mole. Melanomas are scary, but the 5 year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to lymph nodes is 98% making early detection key. So, what can we do to protect ourselves from developing skin cancer?

Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid sun between peak hours of 10am-2pm
  • Wear Broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen EVERYDAY (people underestimate the amount of sun they are getting on a day-to-day basis even just running errands or commuting to work). There has been a social media backlash against some sunscreens lately, but please remember, there are chemical-free sunscreens which only contain the physical blockers zinc and titanium so there is no excuse not to protect yourself and your children from the sun
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while in the sun
  •  MONTHLY self skin exams! Ladies, it is great to do this at the same time as your monthly self breast exams. Get to know your moles and freckles! Pay attention to any ugly ducklings that don’t look like their neighboring moles and use the ABCD method (asymmetry, irregular border, irregular color, diameter larger than a pencil eraser).
  • Make an appointment for evaluation if a changing mole itches, bleeds, or becomes painful.
  • At least annual FULL body skin exams with a dermatologist (Yes, this means your ENTIRE body… we catch melanomas on legs, bottom of feet and in hard to watch places).

Schedule your full body skin exam or contact our office at (205)877-9773