May is National Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Month!
The American Academy of Dermatology designated May as National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention month and the main purpose is to raise awareness about skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and is the result of accumulated sun damage to the skin over long periods of time.
Early detection is crucial in the fight against melanoma, because it does not respond well to chemotherapy and the best course of action if to remove the affected area. If not caught early, it can spread internally to other parts of the body.
There are 3 types of skin cancer:
- Melanoma or mole cancer – appears as a dark brown spot that will slowly increase in size. Usually different shades of brown, blue or black can occur within the spot. While they can appear anywhere, the most common areas are the back, arms, and legs. This type of cancer is very serious and can spread internally. Remember early detection is the key.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – this is the most common type of skin cancer and usually occurs on the head, neck, back or chest. It can appear in different forms, but the majority of the time it looks like a small pink or pearly raised bump that later develops as a non-healing sore within its center. It will slowly enlarge and gradually grow deeper and deeper into the skin. This type of cancer usually does not spread internally and can be treated quickly and easily if caught early.
- Squamous cell carcinoma – occurs most likely on the head, neck, hands and arms. Its appearance is rough, warty-like yellowish and hard with a pink edge. The center can erode causing a sore that will bleed easily. This type of cancer will spread and is usually confined to the lymph node glands beneath the skin. Again, easily treated if caught in time!
How can you prevent skin cancer?
2 words—-APPLY SUNSCREEN! Sunscreens are most effective when applied 20-30 minutes before sun exposures. Also, keep in mind approximately one ounce is needed for an adult body. It’s that easy, using a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher and regularly applying to the constantly sun exposed areas is all you have to do! You should also avoid intentionally tanning your skin either with natural light or a tanning bed.
Take the time this month to make a skin cancer checkup appointment with a dermatologist. And start paying attention to your body- so you can be aware of any changes. CPR Choice wants you to be around a long time! Do it now, do it for you, do it for your family!