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Skin Cancer On The Rise

Melanomas

In 2018, our office diagnosed hundreds of skin cancers and 23 melanomas.  Melanoma diagnoses are increasing at epidemic rates and every hour, one American dies of melanoma, the deadliest (and rarest) form of skin cancer.  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and melanoma is not just skin cancer.  It can develop anywhere on the body – eyes, scalp, nails, feet, mouth, etc.  It does not discriminate by age, race or gender.  Nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by exposure to UV light and sunlight. It takes only one blistering sunburn, especially at a young age, to more than double a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life.  You can help prevent melanoma by seeking shade whenever possible, wearing protective clothing, avoiding direct sunlight between 10am-4pm and using a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day.

Dr. Scheel recommends annual skin checks. One of our providers checks your body for any suspicious moles or changes that could signal potential cancer.  If someone has a history of skin cancer or has a relative with a history of skin cancer, they should come in for screenings every 6 to 12 months.  If you have a history of sunburns or have used tanning beds, that also puts you at a higher risk of skin cancer.

Aside from annual skin checks, Dr. Scheel also recommends that you do self-checks at home and make sure you see a dermatologist if you notice any changes to your skin.  If you have moles, look for these 5 potential warning signs? (A) asymmetry, (B) changes in borders , (C) changes in color , (D) changes in diameter, or (E) any evolving moles.