With May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month and melanoma ranking as the most deadly form of skin cancer, now is a great time to learn some of the facts about melanoma. Every hour of every day, someone in the United States dies from melanoma, and according to the AmericanAcademy of Dermatology (AAD), melanoma is the most common form of cancer for adults between the ages of 25-29 and ranks as the 2nd
most common form of cancer for those between the ages of 15-29. Many experts attribute this to the fact that this demographic group tends to be less likely to wear sunscreen and frequently uses tanning booths.
Like most people when you think of melanoma you probably think of moles. Although it is true that the more moles you have the greater your risk for melanoma, but it is also important to point out that melanoma doesn’t always emerge as a mole and can even affect those who don’t have moles. While melanoma is often characterized by the changing size, shape, or color of a mole, it can also appear as a persistent bruise or a dark streak under finger/toe nails. In addition to appearing in areas that receive a lot of unprotected sun exposure, melanoma can also occur in unexposed locations, such as between the fingers and toes, the underarms, butt, and genital areas.
Melanoma doesn’t discriminate; it affects people of all ages, races, genders, backgrounds, and skin types. The American Cancer Society estimates that the risk of developing melanoma is an alarming 1 in 41 for men and 1 in 61 for women in the United States. While it is true that those with fairer skin types may have a higher risk for melanoma since they don’t have as much pigment to protect their skin, melanoma still affects people of all skin tones, so it’s important for everyone to use sunscreen.
Is getting a good tan really worth all the risk? Do American teenagers and young adults not care about if they are putting themselves at risk for melanoma skin cancer or so they simply lack the education that they need to influence them to make better choices? In either case, its important that efforts are made (like through educational materials, social media, etc.) to inform consumers about melanoma risk factors, how to detect melanoma, and what steps can be taken to help reduce their risks for developing the deadly form of skin cancer.
Throughout 2014 the AmericanAcademy of Dermatology predicts that a whopping 9,700 deaths will be attributed to melanoma in the United States. Take steps to ensure that you aren’t a part of that statistic by knowing your risks, taking steps to shield your skin from damaging UVA rays, and having yearly skin exams. Since melanoma can still appear even without excessive sun exposure, completely avoiding the sun and tanning booths won’t guarantee that you won’t develop melanoma, although it will significantly reduce your risks. Mountainside Medical Equipment knows how important skin care is to our overall health and well-being, which is why we have a whole section of our website dedicated to skin care and we offer a large selection of sunblock products to help protect the skin from damaging rays. For the greatest level of protection experts recommend avoiding direct sunlight and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, like the Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
, the Aveeno Natural Protection Mineral Sunblock SPF 30 Lotion
, or the Coppertone Sport SPF 15Continuous Spray Sunscreen