Coming up…. May 7th kicks off this year’s Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Designated by the American Academy of Dermatology, National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month and Melanoma Monday were established to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer. Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer when detected early.
It is very important that everyone, especially children and young adults, use skin protection whenever they are exposed to the sun. Research has shown that multiple blistering during teenage years can cause cancer later in life. High risk individuals like those with light skin pigment or those that burn easily should be diligent when it comes to practicing sun safety.
The deadliest form of skin cancer is melanoma. Technically there is no cure for melanoma so early detection is crucial. Surgical removal of the melanoma and surrounding tissue is the standard initial treatment. Early-stage melanoma that is completely removed by this surgical process has a high rate of success with 98% of patients surviving beyond five years. However, if not detected early, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Advanced melanoma is treated with immunotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy. This cancer is not very responsive to current treatments, so once the cancer has spread, the patient’s life expectancy diminishes rapidly.
Here are some things you can do to raise awareness about skin cancer:
- Encourage your family and friends to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, avoid UV tanning beds, and direct sun exposure between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- Talk with teachers in your area about instructing their students on the damages of UV radiation
- Partner with your referral groups to sponsor a skin cancer screening event.
- Include information about skin cancer awareness in your Social Media posts and your May newsletter