Because May is “Melanoma Month” we want to highlight some important information about melanoma. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and causes over 8000 deaths per year in the U.S. It appears as a new or changing mole, most frequently on the back of men or legs of women. It can appear anywhere on body and is associated with ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. The most dangerous risks for melanoma include sunburns during childhood, fair skin/light eyes, and a personal or family history of melanoma.
Some important ways to stay protected involve preventative behaviors and screenings. The most important protection is staying out of tanning beds and avoiding the peak hours of sun exposure – usually between 10 am and 2 pm. As many people are active and enjoy outdoor activities, using sunscreen is important when outside. Some key pointers to stay protected include using a minimum SPF of 30 (which measures UVB protection), using a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” (which includes UVA protection), wearing hats and protective clothing and reapplying sunblock every 2 hours.
People that are high risk or have concerning lesions should be checked by their dermatology provider. We instruct patients to watch out for the “ABC’s” of melanoma: ASYMMETRY, BORDER, COLOR, DIAMETER, EVOLUTION; which means looking for moles that have one half not matching the other, irregular border, different colors in one mole, diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and any other change. If you have noticed any change, it should prompt an evaluation and possibly a biopsy/removal of the mole. We recommend a yearly body screening to take preventative measures and have your health care provider take in in-depth look and track any changes.
Of course as the weather is heating up in Chicago, enjoy the city and beautiful outdoors, but stay protected!
Call today to schedule your skin screening with one of our providers at 312-263-4625.