Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States? Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon! Even more surprising, over the past three decades, more people had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
Researchers have discovered a dramatic rise in skin cancer among young adults in recent years. This spike in skin cancer cases can be attributed to young adults’ persistent attempts to tan in addition to the vulnerability of young adults’ skin.
Catching skin cancer in the early stages is crucial to decrease your chances of dying from skin cancer and increasing your chances of successful treatment and recovery. This can be done by simply using a mirror and looking at your skin. Throughout the year, you should examine your skin head-to-toe looking for any suspicious lesions. Use the ABCDE’s of Melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) to identify them.
A: Asymmetry; if you draw a line through a melanoma mole both sides will not match.
B: Borders; the edges of an early melanoma are usually uneven.
C: Color; a melanoma can also have a mix of colors, such as tan or brown. Sometimes it can also become red, blue or black.
D: Diameter; Melanomas are usually larger in size than your average mole however, if detected early enough it can be small sometimes.
E: Evolving; any change in a mole including change in size, shape, elevation or color, or itching, crusting or bleeding is a big red flag.
In addition to regularly examining your skin, protect yourself from harmful UV rays by using sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds. To learn more about skin cancer visit skincancer.org.
Brandi Giles, Editor of Health & Beauty