Alright, now that we have heard Kasey’s story and are aware that we are not invincible creatures of the sun, it is time to educate ourselves.
What to look for, what are the symptoms, what are the different types etc.
Get your pen and paper ready…Here is your Melanoma 101!
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is usually, but not always, a cancer of the skin. It begins in melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment melanin that colors the skin, hair, and eyes, as well as forms moles. Since most of these pigment cells are found in the skin, melanoma of the skin (cutaneous melanoma) is the most common type of melanoma.
Schedule a Skin Check Reminder!
Just like conducting a regular breast examination, you should check your skin every month. You will have a better chance of noticing a change or if something is off better than your doctor will be able to.
Even if you don’t find something the first time, routinely check. If you are more acquainted with your skin when its healthy you will be more likely to notice a difference if something changes.
Before you start panicking over every mole you have here are the symptoms you should watch out for:
- A change on the skin. This could be a new spot, or a change in color, shape or size of a current spot.
- A sore that doesn’t heal.
- A spot or sore that becomes painful, itchy, tender or bleeds.
- A spot or lump that looks shiny, waxy, smooth or pale.
- A firm red lump that bleeds or appears ulcerated or crusty.
- A flat, red spot that is rough, dry or scaly.
Symptoms of melanoma and other skin cancers vary from person to person. It is important to note that not all skin cancers and melanomas fall into these categories, so just use this list as a guideline.
Good moles from bad moles…
A little graphic, I know. But sometimes visuals are the best teaching tools.
As you have all heard..
Please, please, please be an advocate for your health.
Check your skin and use sunscreen. This is a cancer we can prevent so take advantage of the opportunity and protect yourself!
Please visit the Melanoma Research Foundation’s site for more information on Melanoma or give your dermatologist a call.