Today is Melanoma Monday, a day when Dr. Amanda Friedrichs and the American Academy of Dermatology encourages everyone to perform self-checks, over their entire body, for skin cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, 73,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2015 and about 3.5 million cases of skin cancers are diagnosed each year. Because these statistics are substantial, everyone should take the necessary precautions to help prevent the harmful effects of UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun.
Self-checks are important, so be certain to take your time and thoroughly examine your entire body. Also, ask for help when checking your back and other areas which are not easily visible.
When checking your skin, follow the A,B,C,D, and E’s of melanoma:
- Asymmetry – One half of a spot does not look like the other
- Border – A spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border
- Color- Colors vary from spot to spot
- Diameter – Melanoma can be any size, but check for spots larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser (6mm)
- Evolution – Check for skin growths that are different or changing in size
Before going outside, remember to apply sunscreen with an SPF 30 and broad spectrum blocker to all exposed areas. The American Academy of Dermatology recently produced two informative videos which address the need to properly apply sunscreen before going outside.
Avoiding tanning beds is another key factor when keeping yourself healthy. Don’t undo all the positive effects of prevention by choosing to expose your skin to the harmful rays of tanning beds.
Be healthy this month and year round, and remember, Dr. Amanda Friedrichs is always available for consultations to help you with your skin care regimen. Call today to schedule your evaluation!