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Sunny spring days bring greater risk of Melanoma and other Skin cancers

As with so many cancers, catching skin cancer early is critical.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. As we enter May, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we invited a local expert to share resources and answer questions.  

Dr. Paul Wright is from Spectrum Health Cancer Center.  He talked about the different forms of skin cancer, what to look out for, risk factors, and treatments.  Bottom line?  Avoid sun exposure, and check your skin.  As with so many cancers, catching skin cancer early is critical.

For more information about skin cancer visit www.spectrumhealth.org, The American Cancer Society is also a great resource at www.cancer.org and the American Academy of Dermatology is at www.aad.org.  

DOs and DON'Ts of Skin Cancer Prevention (spectrumhealtlh.org)

DO check your skin regularly for odd-looking new moles or changes in old moles. Call your health care provider if you find any.

DO have your health care provider do a complete check of your skin at least yearly.

DO avoid tanning booths.

DO a skin self-examination at least once monthly. Look at all moles on your body or any new moles that have developed.

DO use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) more than 30, which provides the best protection.

DON’T stay out in the sun for long periods, especially if you burn easily.

DON’T delay calling your health care provider if you see a mole that has changed or one that looks different.

Self-exam Tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association

[American Academy of Dermatology Association] Did you know you can do a self-exam at home? Here are some helpful things to look for, the ABCDE’s of Melanoma:

A is for Asymmetry, when one half of the spot is unlike the other half.

B is for Border, when the spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

is for Color, when the spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown, or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.

D is for Diameter, most melanomas are greater than 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, when diagnosed, however, they can be smaller.

E is for Evolving, when a spot looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

[Link] The American Academy of Dermatology has more helpful tips for self-exams at home, visit their website to learn more.

[Link] Following up: if you identify any new or changing spots on your skin, experience itching or bleeding, visit The American Academy of Dermatology to contact a board-certified dermatologist in your area.

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