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With incidences of melanoma increasing over the last 30 years, 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime. The American Academy of Dermatology established Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month to raise awareness of melanoma and other types of skin cancer to encourage early detection through self-exams.
Melanoma frequently develops in a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin, so check your skin regularly for suspicious spots. Ask someone to help you look at spots in hard-to-see areas, like your back, as around 16% of melanomas are found by spouses.
When spotted early and treated properly, skin cancer has a high cure rate, so know the ABCDEs of melanoma:
A: Asymmetry. One half is unlike the other half.
B: Border. An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C: Color. Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D: Diameter. Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E: Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
Daily sunscreen use cuts the incidence of melanoma in half, so apply sunscreen whenever you are going outside, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be broad-spectrum, water-resistant, and have an SPF 30+. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the top of your feet, your neck, ears, and the top of your head and ask a family member or friend to help you apply sunscreen to your back. Extra caution should be taken near water, sand, and snow as they reflect light and can increase your chances of sunburn. Seek shade and wear protective clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat, to protect your skin whenever possible.
If you notice changing, itching, or bleeding on your skin contact one of our dermatologists to make an appointment.

"Prevent Skin Cancer." American Academy of Dermatology, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
"Skin Cancer Fact Sheet." American Academy of Dermatology, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
"What to Look For: ABCDEs of Melanoma." American Academy of Dermatology, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.

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