Posted by: Patricia Hysong | May 27, 2015

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention

In addition to May being National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, it is also Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.

Melanoma1

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, but it can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and although it accounts for less than 2% of skin cancer cases, a large majority of skin cancer deaths are melanomas. It is estimated that about 74,000 new cases of melanomas will be diagnosed this year and nearly 10,000 deaths from melanoma are expected. The good news is that skin cancer can almost always be cured if detected and treated early. Knowing risk factors and prevention tools can drastically reduce your likelihood of getting any type of skin cancer.

UV Index

Risk Factors:

  • prolonged, unprotected exposure to UV rays~ UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells
  • moles~ non-cancerous (benign) pigmented tumors that usually do not ever cause cancer, but the more moles a person has the more likely they are to develop skin cancer
  • fair skin, freckling and light hair~ whites are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer and melanoma than those with darker complexions
  • family history~ approximately 10% of people with melanoma have a family history of the disease
  • previous diagnosis~ 5% of those who are diagnosed will develop it again
  • compromised immune system~ either from certain diseases or from medical treatments because their immune system is weakened
  • age~ although more likely to be found in older people, it is one of the most common cancers in people younger than 30
  • Gender~ typically men have a higher rate of melanoma than women, but that rate varies by age; men have a higher rate than women after the age of 45, women have a higher risk before the age of 45
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum(XP)~ rare, genetic condition affecting skin cells’ ability to repair damage to their DNA

Melanoma Prevention

Prevention:

  • slip on clothing to cover your skin
  • slop in the sunscreen
  • slap on a hat to protect your head, face, and ears
  • seek shade to avoid direct sunlight and UV rays
  • slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them

Always, always, always, read the labels on sunscreen and sunglasses to make sure they are protecting you from UV rays and make sure to reapply sunscreen according to directions on the label. Never rely on just one form of protection. More is better!

Melanoma Self Exam

Early Detection:

  • self examination~ no x-rays needed, just your eyes and a mirror
  • dermatologist exam~ if you are at higher risk then consider consulting a dermatologist on a regular basis because they may be able to more easily recognize suspect abnormalities
  • question anything suspect~ consult your healthcare professional if you have questions or notice changes or abnormalities on your skin

Information adapted and obtained from the American Cancer Society.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

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Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Miles Against Melanoma South Texas.


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