Melanoma Monday

Today, May 6th is Melanoma Monday. Coordinated by the American Academy of Dermatology, it is an effort to raise awareness of skin cancer:

*Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

*Current estimates are that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.

*Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer for 25- to 29-year-olds.

Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early. The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent. Yet, sadly, one American dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, almost every hour. What can you do to decrease your chances of melanoma?

1. Practice smart sun habits:

a. Protect yourself from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays with a good broad spectrum sunscreen, minimum SPF 30. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or heavy perspiration.

b. Seek shade when appropriate. Avoid sun during its peak hours between 10 am and 4 pm.

c. Wear protective clothing including sunglasses, where possible.

d. Exercise caution near snow, water, sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.

e. Avoid tanning beds, which can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. Consider self-tanning products or spray, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

2. Perform a self-examination. Instructions may be found at the AAD website

3. Know the warning signs of melanoma. Download the body mole map at the AAD site

Keep safe in the sun!

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