Monday, May 03, 2010

Today is MELANOMA Monday....

May is SKIN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH and every Monday this month is "Melanoma Monday."

As a Stage III, Nodular Melanoma Survivor, I do my best to give back and celebrate my survivorship (5 years ago in February) by raising awareness of Melanoma and Skin Cancer. With all the great resources available this month, I want to do my part to SPREAD THE WORD!

It only takes small habits to protect yourself from the sun and to catch skin cancer early by doing self checks and making a yearly check-up to a Dermatologist a part of your annual DR visits.

Melanoma Monday is also known as National Skin Self Examination day in the U.S. Starting in 1985 the American Academy of Dermatology has sponsored free skin cancer screenings in many cities on today:

More about MELANOMA
While only 4% of diagnosed skin cancer is melanoma, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer because of its ability to spread. This is why it is so important to catch melanoma early when the cure rate with dermatological surgery is about 95%.

Where Occurs
Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body — soles, palms, inside the mouth, genitalia, and underneath nails. However, it is most commonly found on the back, buttocks, legs, scalp, neck, and behind the ears.

Warning signs
Melanoma often develops in a pre-existing mole that begins to change or a new mole. It is estimated that 20% to 40% of melanomas arise from an atypical mole. This is why it is so important to be familiar with the moles on your body and perform regular self-examinations of your skin.

When looking at moles, keep in mind the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection:

1.) Asymmetry. If you could fold the lesion in two, the two halves would not match.

2.) Border. Melanomas often have uneven or blurred borders.

3.) Color. Melanoma typically is not one solid color; rather it contains mixed shades of tan, brown, and black. It can also show traces of red, blue or white.

4.) Diameter. While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole different from others, or which changes, itches, or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6 millimeters, you should see a dermatologist.

5.) Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

It is important to realize that a mole may have some of the characteristics described above and not be a melanoma. A biopsy is often necessary to distinguish an atypical mole from a melanoma.

Other warning signs of melanoma include:
  • Change in the appearance of a mole, such as the spreading of the pigment from the border of the mole into the surrounding skin

  • A mole that looks scaly, oozes, or bleeds

  • Itching, tenderness, or pain in a mole or lesion

  • Brown or black streak that appears underneath a nail or around the nail

  • Bruise on the foot that does not heal.


trifitmom said...

thank you for sharing !!!

Kristine said...

I spent the weekend walking for cancer in Death Valley NP and thanks to you I made sure I used lots of sunscreen and badgered my mom and sister until they also did.