ADVENTIST LA GRANGE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Checking for Melanoma Is as Easy as ABCDE
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital issued the following announcement on May 27.
The sun is finally out after a long, long winter, and melanoma might be the last topic that you want to think about as you plan the next few months of summer fun. But the fact is that May is Melanoma Awareness Month for a reason, and you should be considering the health of your skin this time of year more than any other. Fortunately, the AMITA Health Cancer Institute recommends this easy-to-remember method for staying on top of potentially cancerous moles while they’re still in their earliest stages.
Back to Basics for Melanoma Prevention
Earlier this month, we gave you some pointers for preventing melanoma and avoiding sun damage. But nobody’s perfect. No matter how well you take care to protect yourself and your family, it’s just as important to be aware of the signs of skin cancer.
In the earliest stages, melanoma symptoms can be as innocuous as a peculiar mole on your skin. As such, skin cancer treatment can be as easy as slicing off the offending spot and having the sample biopsied — but only if it’s caught early enough. How can you tell if a mole is reason enough to book an appointment with your dermatologist? That’s as easy as ABCDE.
A is for Asymmetry. Does one half of the mole look different from the other?
B is for Border. Is the border of the mole irregular or poorly defined?
C is for Color. Does the mole have areas of different colors?
D is for Diameter. Is the mole larger than a pencil eraser?
E is for Evolving. Has the mole changed in size, shape or color over time?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it couldn’t hurt to have yourself checked out. All you have to lose is a mole or two.
Melanoma Risk Factors
Melanoma rates are on the rise (although the good news is that deaths from melanoma are dropping), so it’s important to know if you might face an increased risk than some of your fellow sun-bathers. Some of those risks are easy to guess, but others might surprise you.
Fair skin, freckling and light hair: If you are more prone to sunburns, you’re more prone to melanoma. People with pale skin, red or blonde hair or blue or green eyes are all at increased risk.
Family history of melanoma: Like other cancers, melanoma risks can be hereditary. Take extra care if one or more of your immediate family members has had melanoma.
Many newly acquired moles: In general, babies are not born with moles. If you have 50 or more moles, or if you start acquiring moles after age 25, your risk of developing melanoma is higher than the general population.
Age and gender: Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in people younger than 30, but risks also increase with age. The risk is higher for women under 50, and higher for men over 50.
As long as you play it safe, there’s no reason to let melanoma ruin your summer vacation. Be smart, pay attention and check out our prevention and wellness tips for more easy ways to stay cancer-free.
Original source can be found here.
Source: Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital