Cancer Covered Blog

Melanoma Monday

This time of year, conjures up thoughts of fun in the sun, on the boat, or walking the dog. It is also the beginning of Skin Cancer Awareness Month and May 6th is Melanoma Monday. There are a number of things we can all do to enjoy the sunshine while also practicing skin safety. 

Melanoma is one of the most serious types of skin cancers, but if caught early, is highly treatable. You can identify melanoma early by routinely checking your skin for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • A = Asymmetry – the mole or spot has one side that is different from the other
  • B = Border – the mole or spot is not sharp but rather irregular or poorly defined
  • C = Color – the spot has different colors. There may be darker areas of tan, brown or black or areas of white, red or blue. 
  • D =Diameter – though melanomas can be small, they often are more than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • E =Evolving – spot may show changes in size, shape or color over time. 

How to Make Sun Safety a Priority:

Use UV protection year-round, especially from 10 am – 2pm when UV rays are strongest. Sheek shade whenever possible. 

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is water resistant and has a sun protective factor of 30 or greater. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or more frequently with swimming or sweating. Tinted sunscreens with iron oxide will also better protect your skin from dark spots.

Wear a wide brim hat that shades your face, head, ears and neck.

Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and/or UPF of 50+

Wear sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound sunglasses provide the best coverage. 

Do not be fooled into thinking that indoor tanning beds protect skin against sunburns. Indoor tanning results in high levels of UV rays, which can cause skin cancer.

Finally self check your skin and see a provider for an annual skin exam.

How to do a Self Skin Exam:

Use a full-length mirror and with your arms raised, check both the front and back of your body. 

Carefully examine your arms. Bend your elbows so you can look at your forearms and underarms. Also look at your fingernails and palms.

Look at your legs. Don’t forget to look between your toes and on the soles of your feet. Use a hand mirror to help examine your neck and scalp and your back and buttocks. 

Have fun in the sun, but remember to practice skin safety too!

Dr. Barbi Kaplan-Frenkel signature
Barbi Kaplan-Frenkel, DO

Barbi’s patients can expect her to be open, caring and positive. She values being part of a team that is committed to both excellence and compassion.

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