Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Melanoma: Ugly Duckling Sign

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, is responsible for the death of one American every hour. Even more, it is estimated that one in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime. Fortunately, the 5-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is treated and detected before it spreads to lymph nodes is 98%.

So how can we protect ourselves from developing melanoma? The most obvious answer is sun protection. Use an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every 2-3 hours when exposed to direct sunlight. Also, wearing wide-brimmed hats and UV protected clothing increases your protection.

Also, being aware of the ABCDEs of melanoma can help you catch the disease early on. Look for the following:

Asymmetry- One half looks different from the other
Border - The border is irregularly shaped
Color Variability - Different shades of brown, black, gray, red and white
Diameter > 6 mm
Evolving - The lesion is changing in size, shape or shade of color

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