1 American dies of melanoma almost every hour
Yes, you read that right. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), melanoma claims the life of 1 person every hour and current estimates are that one in five people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. These numbers are staggering, but the good news is that skin cancers have a 98% cure rate when caught early.
Dr. Beverly recommends routine skin checks and mole evaluations to detect atypical moles and skin cancers. Most people have freckles, birthmarks and/or moles, the majority of which are benign. However, it’s important to notice any changes that might indicate cancer presence.
ABCDEs of Melanoma:
- Asymmetry – One half of the mole doesn’t match the other half
- Border – The border is scalloped, uneven or poorly defined
- Color – The color is not even, but various shades of brown or changes color to black, red or white
- Diameter – The size of the mole is growing to a size wider than a pencil eraser (1/4”)
- Evolving – Changing in shape, size, or in symptoms (bleeding, burning, itching, pain)
**Visit the AAD website for visual examples of each skin cancer red flag**
You should be seen by a dermatologist if you notice any of these changes. When in doubt, have it checked out!
How to Stay Safe:
Minimize Exposure: Wear sunscreen when you’re out in the sun. Add a hat or UPF-rated (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing for greater coverage. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants will minimize UV exposure but also keep you cool during summer months. More Sun Safe Tips!
- Stay Vigilant: Perform monthly self-exams to check for suspicious moles or sores (AAD Self Exam), paying special attention to:
- Moles that are growing or changing in color, texture or border
- Spots or sores that itch, hurt, crust or bleed
- An open sore that doesn’t heal within one month
- See a Specialist: Visit your dermatologist, being sure to mention spots that you believe have grown or otherwise changed (see ABCDEs of skin cancer above). At our offices, Dr. Beverly will thoroughly check your skin and biopsy any suspicious spots to determine if any cancerous cells are present.