As part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’re discussing Melanoma Monday, which is the first Monday of May.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and it can become deadly if it’s not caught early. If it grows, it’ll quickly spread to other body parts.
Since UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds is the leading cause of melanoma, it’s widely preventable. Learn how to spot suspicious signs, and check out these facts to make you more aware of your chances of developing melanoma.
- Melanoma most commonly occurs on the head, neck, upper back, torso or lower legs. However, it can form on any part of the body including under fingernails, on lips, or on the genital area.
- Anyone can get melanoma regardless of skin color. The majority of people who get melanoma have light skin, but it’s typically harder to identify the skin cancer in its early stages for people with darker skin types.
- Women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.
- Even one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20%.
- Between the ages of 15 to 20, five or more blistering sunburns increase your risk by 80%.
- Sunlight is more intense towards the equator, so if you live close by or spend a lot of time there, your risk increases.
- If you live in a sunny area of the United States such as Florida or Arizona, your risk increases.
- If you’re older than 65, you’ll experience melanoma more frequently because of the UV exposure you’ve received over the course of a lifetime.
- Specific characters can influence your risk of developing melanoma. One or more of the following can put you at higher risk: fair or sun-sensitive skin, blond or red hair, green or blue eyes, 50 or more moles or skin that burns easily or rarely tans.
- If you previously had melanoma or another type of skin cancer, your risk increases.
- If you had another type of cancer, your risk increases.
- If you have a disease that weakens your immune system, your melanoma risk increases.
- Men, by age 50, are more likely than women to develop melanoma.
- By age 65, men are two times as likely as women of the same age to get melanoma.
- Men, by age 80, are three times more likely than women in of the same age group to develop melanoma.
- If you have a history of melanoma in your family, you have a higher risk of getting melanoma.
If melanoma isn’t caught early and progresses beyond the outer layer of skin, it becomes harder to treat. A board-certified dermatologist will need to explain the staging of melanoma and how to best address it.
Ready to schedule a skin exam? Contact us today!