The American Academy of Dermatology has designated May as National Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Bay Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery is committed to raising awareness to give our patients the best outcome possible. One in 50 people will develop Melanoma in their lifetime, which is why early detection for this cancer and any form of skin cancer can help saves the life of you or your loved ones.
What is Melanoma Cancer?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can develop when the melanocytes (cells that give skin its brown or tan color) start to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can turn into cancer. This is more dangerous because it can quickly spread to many areas of the body if not caught and treated earlier. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and it’s estimated that one person dies of melanoma every hour.
Risk Factors for Melanoma Skin Cancer
Several risk factors can make someone more likely to develop melanoma. Having a risk factor doesn’t always mean that you will get it. It’s important to know about the risks for melanoma because there are steps you can take to lower your risks.
- Exposure to sunlight and its damaging UV rays are major risk for melanoma. Tanning beds and sun lamps are also a source.
- Fair skin
- Family history
- Weakened immune system
- Tendency to sunburn or history of long exposure
- Having many moles
For melanoma specifically, a simple way to remember the warning signs is to remember the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma—
- “A” stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
- “B” stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
- “C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
- “D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
- “E” is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?
How is Melanoma Skin Cancer Treated
If melanoma is treated early, it is almost always curable. So early detection is key! However, if melanoma spreads to other parts of the body, it becomes difficult to treat. Based on the stage of the cancer and other factors, your treatment options may include; surgery, Immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiation and mohs surgery.
Contact Bay Dermatology
May is melanoma and skin cancer awareness month. If you’ve noticed an irregular birthmark, mole, or other skin abnormality, we encourage you to visit one of our 8 Tampa locations for a skin cancer screening. For over 30 years Bay Dermatology has been dedicated to the health and beauty of your skin. Please contact our board certified dermatologists today with any concerns or questions at (727) 585-8591.