Shedding Light on Melanoma

North Memorial Better Health Blog Author Logo
March 23, 2017
Woman laying in the sun

Melanoma is the deadliest form of cancer for young people between the ages of 25 and 29. Skin cancer is preventable; yet incidence rates continue to rise. Early detection and treatment are the keys to a cure. People of all ages need to routinely look out for new or changing spots on their skin. If you have a history of sunburns, tanning bed use or skin cancer, you should be screened by a board-certified dermatologist annually.

Easy Summer Skin & Eye Safety Precautions

You can afford to burn the toast but not your skin. Children who have multiple sunburns early in life have a much higher risk for developing skin cancer at a later age. Take these precautionary steps to play it safe in the sun:

  • Wear protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
  • Apply SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally to dry skin, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours when outdoors.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
  • Choose to sit in the shade especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Know your 'ABCDEs'

Detecting skin cancer requires active vigilance. Look at the skin and consult with a doctor about spots that have:

  • Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
  • Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black.
  • Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch or the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolution: The mole is changing in size, shape or color. Continued change in a spot over time is the most important predictive factor for development of skin cancer.

Schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists

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