You've heard that May is Melanoma Awareness Month. But you may not know some troubling facts about melanoma: While the incidence of many common cancers is falling, the incidence of melanoma continues to rise at a rate faster than any of the seven most common cancers. In fact,1 in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime. However, the survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early in an incredible 99%.
Renowned dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt explains, “Early detection is crucial when it comes to melanoma. Prevention is best, but being proactive about self-examination and dermatologist visits can literally be the difference between life and death.”
Dr. Brandt recommends the following self-examination techniques:
- Thoroughly inspect every inch of skin, using mirrors to help you get a clear view of tough-to-see places.
- Don’t overlook areas like lips, between fingers and toes, under nails, palms and soles of feet—these spots can be just as susceptible.
- Use a blow dryer to thoroughly inspect your scalp—skin that gets a lot of sun and can be tough to protect.
- Women should be sure to lift breasts to inspect the underside—you can still get melanoma on areas the sun doesn’t reach.
- Ask someone close to you to help you with your check—the more eyes, the better.
- Be sure to use the “ABCD” guide to assess freckles and moles: Be on the lookout for Asymmetry, uneven Borders, uneven Color or large Diameter.
- If you’re concerned about any discoloration or growth, don’t hesitate to see your dermatologist! It could be one of the best decisions of your life.
- Finally, prevention is the best cure—be sure to wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine. MyUV SPF 20 high protection face sunscreen provides superior protection against UVA/UVB rays while decreasing pigmentation caused by UV exposure to prevent photo-aging ($35 at www.drbrandskincare.com).