Detecting and Preventing Melanoma

Detecting and Preventing Melanoma

Melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer in the US, is commonly diagnosed in people under the age of 30. The number of people affected by melanoma is consistently rising. It is extremely important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of melanoma; the more knowledgeable you are, the more likely you will not only be able to detect melanoma in the early stages while it is still treatable, but possibly prevent melanoma entirely. Here are five tips recommended by skin care professionals to help spot and prevent melanoma:

Wear Sunscreen

This is a phrase you have surely heard hundreds of times throughout your life, and for good reason. Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays will damage your skin and cause skin cancer. Sunscreen should be worn daily, especially when you will be in the sun for prolonged periods of time.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Studies have shown that people who frequent tanning beds before the age of 35 are 75% more likely to develop melanoma. Tanning beds produce the same skin-damaging rays as the sun, but up close and personal.

Skin Exams

Having an annual skin examination performed by a professional can help detect any abnormalities or concerns. It is also important to give yourself a self-examination monthly to ensure you catch any changes to your skin before they become larger issues.

Individual Risk

If you have a family history of skin cancer, are more susceptible to sunburns, or have fair skin, light hair, or a large number of moles, you have a greater chance of developing skin cancer. Be aware of this risk and pay attention to your skin!

Sunburns

Every time you get a sunburn, your skin has an increased risk of developing melanoma due to an excessive amount of exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Take care of your skin by wearing sunscreen, seeking out the shade, and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 A.M. and 2 P.M.

The most common visual signs of melanoma include:

  • Moles that grow in size on your skin
  • Unusual looking mole or a mole that does not look like any other mole on your skin
  • Non-uniform mole – oddly shaped, uneven or uncertain border, different colors, etc.
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