What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. Melanoma is not just skin cancer though; it can develop anywhere on the body, including the eyes, scalp, nails feet and mouth.
How Common is Melanoma?
There are expected to be 160,000 cases of melanoma in 2017, and approximately 10,000 people per year die of the disease. Put another way, that is about 1 person every hour in the United States alone.
Melanoma is now the leading cause of cancer death in women age 25 to 40, as the mortality rate in this demographic group has surpassed breast cancer. Tanning drastically increases the risk of skin cancer and melanoma, and the risk of getting skin cancer from tanning is even stronger than the risk of getting lung cancer from smoking.
The fastest growing group of individuals getting melanomas are young people; those under the age of 30. The lifetime risk of getting melanoma is 1:40 for Caucasians in the US.
How Can You Prevent Melanoma?
- Avoid tanning (indoor tanning beds and intentional outdoor tanning).
- Use SPF 30 or greater sunscreen regularly, reapplying every two hours if you are going to be outside for a while.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sun-protective clothing.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Get your skin checked by a dermatologist annually. Melanoma is very treatable if detected early.
Here at WNY Dermatology, we are always reminding our patients of the importance of annual skin checks, and what better time to schedule yours than during Melanoma Awareness Month?
To book your appointment, please give us a call at (716) 831-2600 today!