Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!
Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!
Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness

It’s May, which means it’s also melanoma and skin cancer awareness month! Any one of us, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer…..which is why early detection is the key! Do you do your yearly skin checks? If not, we’re here to give you some stats and facts about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, and why coming in for skin checks and being familiar with what to look for in your moles is so important.

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness

It’s May, which means it’s also melanoma and skin cancer awareness month! Any one of us, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer…..which is why early detection is the key! Do you do your yearly skin checks? If not, we’re here to give you some stats and facts about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, and why coming in for skin checks and being familiar with what to look for in your moles is so important.

What is Melanoma?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 and having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. (skincancer.org)

If you’re unfamiliar with the term melanoma, it occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

If that doesn’t get your attention, how about this? Every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma – that’s approximately 10,000 per year. There’s also good news, though. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is treatable if detected early.

Melanoma Treatment in Wilmington
Melanoma Treatment in Wilmington

What is Melanoma?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 and having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. (skincancer.org)

If you’re unfamiliar with the term melanoma, it occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

If that doesn’t get your attention, how about this? Every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma – that’s approximately 10,000 per year. There’s also good news, though. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is treatable if detected early.

Risk for Melanoma

How Do I Prevent Melanoma?

There are a number of things we can be doing to help prevent melanoma from developing in the skin, but the number one thing is PROTECT yourself! Wear and reapply that sunscreen when out at the beach, grab that umbrella, throw on a hat, sunglasses, and cover-up.  

 While some people are more at-risk than others (like fair skin or medical history of melanoma in the family) there are tons of benefits from protecting yourself from the sun, even if you don’t burn. 

What are the Symptoms of Melanoma?

Start getting in the habit of checking your skin at home, so you’re aware of new or changing moles. Remember, early detection is key to successful treatment.

 But what should you be looking for when doing at-home skin exams? Symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole. That’s where the ABCDEs come in. This quick guide will walk you through what to look for when checking out your moles.

Symptoms of Melanoma
Symptoms of Melanoma

What are the Symptoms of Melanoma?

Start getting in the habit of checking your skin at home, so you’re aware of new or changing moles. Remember, early detection is key to successful treatment.

But what should you be looking for when doing at-home skin exams? Symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole. That’s where the ABCDEs come in. This quick guide will walk you through what to look for when checking out your moles.

Skin Cancer Diagnosis

What Are the ABCDEs of Skin Cancer?

  • A – Asymmetrical Shape
    Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.
  • B – Border
    Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.
  • C – Color
    The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.
  • D – Diameter
    Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).
  • E – Evolution
    While benign moles may appear and stay the same for years, malignant melanoma lesions do not stay the same. They may change in size, shape, and color, and may become raised.

Since melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, this is best way to determine if a lesion needs to be seen by a professional healthcare provider. The lesion can be tested and then diagnosis determined. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, medications, or in some cases chemotherapy.

Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma Skin Cancer

The moral of the story is: Be smart, be safe with the sun, and when in doubt, get a professional to take a look at you.  Call our office to schedule your skin check today! 910-256-4350.