May Is Melanoma Awareness Month.
That means constantly check your skin!
UV rays can cause incredible damage to people's skin, especially if they don't apply sunscreen. So it's important to ensure you don't have melanoma, which is a disease of the pigment-producing cells becoming cancerous.
Although sun exposure is the leading risk for melanoma, a person's skin type and family history are also important. If a history of melanoma exists in one's family history, they may be at a higher risk than others.
Dr. Sabrina Newman, a dermatologist for Sky Ridge Medical Center in Colorado, had some advice on the topic of melanoma and its relation to skin cancer:
“It tends to go undiagnosed, which is why early detection is so important," she said. "When we can detect melanoma, it’s highly treatable. That’s why it’s so important that you have your doctor check your skin, and if you notice anything new, bring it to the attention of a board-certified dermatologist.”
She went on, explaining that people who have fair skin, burn more easily, or have quite a lot of irregular or big moles on their body have a higher chance of developing melanoma. Determining if any other parts of your skin that look irregular, if you've had bleeding or itching symptoms, or if a spot has changed can be warning signs of melanoma, too. Thus, Dr. Newman encourages people to constantly recommend checking their skin.
Another way to prevent melanoma is always applying sunscreen.
“If you have any hesitation with sunscreen, I would recommend you pick a mineral sunscreen ... Mineral sunscreens are basically a shield on your skin and deflect the ultraviolet rays," said Dr. Newman.
Wearing sunscreen at least 30 SPF, finding shade in the sun, and wearing hats as well as other UV-protective clothing are all means to definitely help ward against melanoma.
Still, Dr. Newman affirms to check skin or even look into getting automated body photography.
“We actually offer automated, computerized total body photography to identify new and changing moles," she said. "There’s a bit of an artificial intelligence within the computerized system that will automatically circle anything new or anything that has changed. Total body photography can be very helpful in detecting melanoma early and may minimize biopsies as well.”
Whichever method works for you—just be aware of any changes in your skin, especially come summer!
What other ways are you preventing melanoma? Let us know in the comments.