Serving as a reminder to us all, melanoma remains the most deadly form of skin cancer. Luckily, melanoma accounts for only one percent of all skin cancer cases. That said, melanoma rates have been on the rise for at least 30 years. It is now expected that 2.4 percent of all individuals will develop melanoma at some point in their life.
Pay Attention to Common Risk Factors
Although anyone can develop skin cancer, there are a number of factors that increase one’s odds.
- Sun Exposure: More than any other factor, overexposure to the sun’s dangerous UV rays puts one at risk for developing skin cancer. In fact, research has shown that nearly 90 percent of melanomas are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.
- Family History: Take note of your family history. If a loved one within your family tree has had skin cancer, you too are more susceptible.
- Fair Skin: Men and women with fair skin are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Why is this? With less pigmentation, there is less protection from ultraviolet radiation. But be warned, it is possible for anyone—regardless of their skin tone—to develop skin cancer.
- Severe Sunburns: An occasional sun burn is inevitable. However, those who have experienced a series of severe sunburns (whether as a child, teenager, or adult) are more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer later in their life.
- Age: The risk of melanoma increases with age. On average, melanoma is found is at age 62. For those still in their youth: don’t think that you get a free pass. Skin cancer can develop at any age—especially for women and those with a family history of melanoma.
Lower Your Chances of Developing Melanoma
Use Sun Protection
Sunscreen reduces the incidence of melanoma by 50 to 73 percent. Thus, we cannot stress enough the importance of applying a sunscreen daily. At Urban Effects, we love Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush. Compact, light, and mess free—perhaps best of all, this easy, on-the go-applicator makes reapplication manageable. With two strengths, SPF 30 or SPF 50, you can easily dust on a new layer and are free to enjoy the rest of your sun-filled day.
At Urban Effects, we recommend that you perform a monthly head-to-toe self-examination. What are you looking for? Look for a change in size, shape, color, and feel of existing moles and be aware of any new growth.
Visit Urban Effects
If you are between 20 and 39 years old, The American Cancer Society recommends that you see your dermatologist every three years for a full body skin exam. After 40, you should see your physician yearly. With her extensive knowledge, our nurse practitioner, Susan, is able to provide you with a comprehensive medical skin consultation.
Celebrate Melanoma Awareness Month with Urban Effects
With melanoma and other forms of skin cancer—awareness and early detection are key. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about skin cancer, detection, or treatments.