This post is about Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but you can protect yourself from getting it, and it can be successfully treated if detected early. Read this post to learn more. Sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Today is Melanoma Monday and I’m helping the American Academy of Dermatology kick off their “Looking Good in 2016” campaign to raise awareness about skin cancer prevention and detection, especially melanoma.
This is super important information everyone, so please read this post and share it with your family and friends!
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but it is highly treatable when spotted early.
To be honest, I never worried about skin cancer until recently. I used to love getting a golden tan during the summer, and only used sunscreen when I was laying out in the hot sun. I remember getting sun poisoning in my early 20’s during my first visit to Florida – I continued to get a rash every time I was in the sun for a number of years after that. I never thought about getting skin cancer from unprotected sun exposure.
Then, a few years ago, a few of my friends had surgery to remove melanomas, including one friend who had several large sections of skin removed from her leg due to melanoma. Another friend had melanoma removed on her nose. It was a real eye opener. And, just last weekend, I ran into a male friend in his 50’s who had a Band-Aid on his face because he had to have suspicious spots removed to check them for skin cancer.
When the AAD asked me to help raise awareness for Skin Cancer Awareness Month and Melanoma Monday, I was curious to learn more. I’ve cooked for many people with cancer, including breast cancer, thyroid cancer and stomach cancer, and as a result, learned a bit about these types of cancer. But, I really didn’t know anything about skin cancer, and didn’t think it was as serious as the other types of cancer.
I had no idea that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S.
I also didn’t know that melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers because it is much more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body, which can be hard to treat.
Here’s an infographic I put together that summarizes some of the information about skin cancer and melanoma I’d love you to share with your friends and family:
Skin Cancer and Melanoma Statistics:
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime
- One American dies from melanoma every hour
- Melanoma is now the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old, and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old
- Caucasians and men over 50 years of age are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population
- Studies have found a 59% increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning (I have friends who use indoor tanning to get their tan started before the summer – please don’t do that!)
- Melanoma may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop from or near an existing mole.
- It can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head, and neck.
- Melanoma frequently spreads to lymph nodes and most internal organs, making early detection and treatment essential.
- New, rapidly growing moles, or moles that itch, bleed, or change color are often early warning signs of melanoma and should be examined by a dermatologist.
- If detected early, melanoma is highly treatable.
- The 5-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph notes is 98%
The good news is that you can protect yourself from getting skin cancer and melanoma.
- Apply sunscreen on a daily basis. Research has shown that daily sunscreen use can cut the incidence of melanoma in half.
- For maximum protection, the AAD recommends that everyone generously apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum lotion protects your skin from both types of harmful UV rays — the UVA (aging) rays and the UVB (burning) rays. Water-resistant sunscreen stays effective for 40-80 minutes in the water. An SPF of at least 30 filters out 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.
- It’s important to apply sunscreen on a daily basis, not just when it’s sunny out – your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
- In order to best reduce your risk of skin cancer, it is equally important to seek shade and wear protective clothing in addition to applying sunscreen to all exposed skin.
- Make sure your skin is “Looking Good in 2016” by checking your skin regularly for any new or suspicious spots.
Skin cancer can be deadly, but you can protect yourself from getting it, and it can be successfully treated if detected early. Please take care of your skin, check it regularly for skin cancer, and share this information with your family and friends. Click here to find a free skin cancer screening location in your area.
Do you know anyone who has had skin cancer?
Please share your experience, submit a photo and answer a few questions telling the public what motivates you to check your skin for signs of skin cancer here on AAD’s site.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of American Academy of Dermatology. The opinions and text are all mine.