Many people know they should wear sunscreen every day. But do you know what symptoms may be a sign of skin cancer or melanoma? May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, so let’s take a look at how you can catch it early.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. Unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and it is the most dangerous. It is mainly caused by intense exposure to the sun or tanning beds and kills more than 10,000 people in the U.S. each year. If caught early, melanoma is treatable, but if it spreads, it can be fatal. Learn about the four types of melanoma.
You are at a higher risk for melanoma if you have a family history and/or have more than 100 moles. Other risk factors include fair skin/hair, frequent sunburns, and a weakened immune system. Melanomas look like moles and some may develop from moles, so it’s best to check your skin regularly for odd spots. Most are black or brown, but they might be pink, blue, white, purple, or skin-colored. You may have heard of the ABCDE’s of moles and spots:
Although Melanoma is the most deadly, other types of skin cancers are more common. Watch for any changes in your skin, including open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, lesions, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts; those that crust or bleed.
You can help prevent skin cancer by taking care of your skin:
Concerned about your skin? Contact our Generations Family Practice providers for your annual skin checkup.