SAN DIEGO, May 6, 2014 — Self-examination in a mirror or routine skin checks performed by a loved one just might save a life!
Early detection is critical to stopping the spread of melanoma, the rarest and most deadly form of skin cancer.
Melanoma is almost completely curable if found early.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is a five-year survival rate for those whose melanoma is detected and treated prior to spreading to lymph nodes at a rate of 98%.
One American dies each hour of every day from this deadly skin cancer disease.
Melanoma might take decades to fully evolve into a disease resulting from skin damage caused by sun exposure.
Dr. Patrick Ormonde, Dermatologist, suggests that melanoma could take15-30 years to fully develop.
Oftentimes the result of childhood sun exposure when skin is at its thinnest, melanoma occurs more frequently in fair-skinned populations.
Melanoma develops in the melanocytes of the skin, a deep layer of pigment producing cells found below the basal cells of the epidermis.
It is not uncommon for melanoma to spread to other parts of the body, including eyes, mouth, nose, nail beds, and palms of hands soles of feet, genital areas, internal organs and lymph nodes.
Generally discovered on the head, upper back and hips of men, melanoma is generally found on the upper back, hips and lower legs of women.
Melanoma could first appear as a bump, mole or sore on the body which will not go away.
Alternatively, melanoma might look as an irregular patch of skin or a freckle which is discolored or uneven.
To reduce the risks for developing melanoma, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following precautionary, safe sun measures:
-Stay in the shade
-Cover legs and arms with protective clothing
-Wear a hat with a wide brim
-Wear sunglasses which contain both UVA and UVB
-Use sunscreen routinely
-Sunscreen must have a minimum SPF of 15 or greater, providing protection against UVA and UVB rays
-Avoid indoor tanning
The American Academy of Dermatology has a five-step rule, commonly known as the ABCDE for early warning signs of melanoma:
A-Asymmetry: One side of a mole or skin anomaly does not match the other.
B-Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
C-Color: Variations in color from one area of a skin location to another.
D-Diameter: Melanoma is commonly the size of a pencil eraser or lager, but it might also be smaller.
E-Evolving: A mole or skin lesion may appear different from the rest, or is changing in color, shape or size.
It is estimated that by 2015, one out of every 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
To prevent becoming a negative melanoma statistic, practice sun safety as a daily and lifelong habit.
Regular skin cancer screenings conducted by a qualified health care professional are highly recommended.
Remember to GetNaked and follow the Melanoma Research Foundation’s recommendations. Learn what steps to follow in conducting routine skin self-examinations, or educating a loved one to help.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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