What is Melanoma Skin Cancer?

What is Melanoma Skin Cancer

Sadly, most folks still enjoy sunbathing without any concern for proper skin protection, which can be fatal. Recent statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation estimate 87,110 new cases of melanoma for the year 2017 with approximately 9,730 melanoma deaths. While melanoma is only responsible for roughly 1-percent of reported skin cancer cases, the vast majority of these cases are due to sun exposure. However, if caught early, melanoma can be effectively treated with minor surgery.

What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is cancer that develops on the skin’s surface due to UV Radiation from the sun and then spreads aggressively to the lymph nodes if left untreated. All skin contains melanin a UV-blocking pigment that’s emitted by the body’s melanocytes cells. Everybody produces a different amount of melanin. The darker your skin, the more melanin your body tends to produce. While the melanin you produce will naturally safeguard your skin, excessive sun exposure can turn toxic if you tend to burn easily or have pale skin, eyes, or hair, your melanoma risk is considered greater.

Protecting your skin from Melanoma
While wearing a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher is a good start to protecting you from developing melanoma, these skin cancer prevention tips can go a long way to safeguarding your skin…

  • Never use tanning booths
  • In the hot sun, cover up with loose clothing and wear a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Stay in the shade when possible, bring a beach umbrella or wear a hat in high sun times (10 AM to 4 PM).
  • To avoid a burn, apply a UVB sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher 30 minutes prior to going out into the sun.
  • Use a water-resistant sunscreen at the beach and reapply as needed.
  • If outside for the long-term, sweat will cause sunscreen to dissipate so apply liberally and regularly.

Complete home skin self-scans weekly before your bath or shower. Report abnormal skin moles and markings to your doctor.

Ask your doctor to perform an annual “skin check” or refer you to a dermatologist when necessary.