Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Actually it's MELANOMA detection and prevention month to be more specific, the most dangerous skin cancer.
Today, you hear all around you, sun exposure poses a huge threat, but why?
You are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted from the beaming sun rays, all day everyday, even when indoors, that is of course unless you are locked up somewhere in a room with no windows.
When your skin is exposed to uv radiation, it sends a defensive signal to your skin to protect itself. This activates your melanocyte skin cells which are located at the deepest part of the upper layer of skin called the epidermis, in the basal cell layer.
One of the primary responsibilities of melanocytes are to protect your skin, and how does it do it? It produces a little something called melanin, also known as the pigment that gives skin its color.
If you are excessively exposed to UV radiation, and you are not properly protected, or even worse you’re voluntarily practicing unsafe sun exposure, you begin to compromise the intended action of your melanocytes, pushing them to overdrive and over production of cell growth.
UV exposure can cause skin cell abnormalities and damage to the DNA. As a result, Melanoma, damaged malignant (life-threatening) cancer cells which stemmed from malfunctioning melanocytes.
Melanoma early detection and prevention is critical and a matter of life or death.
According to the American Cancer Society, there is an estimated 106,110 (approximately 18,410 more men than women) prospected new cases of melanoma. Of them, 7,180 (approximately 2,020 more men than women) will tragically, not end well.
California and Florida have the highest risk, by more than double than the rest of the United States. You can further explore the statistics at Cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org.
It’s mind boggling that although the average person or consumer is so much more knowledgeable, with limitless access to information, about everything, than ever before, including the risks of sun exposure, skin cancer is still on the rise. This can only mean that skin cancer is not being taken seriously enough.
Some food for thought, skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers. How empowering is that? It is our responsibility to take the necessary precautions to align ourselves with a healthier cancer-free future.
HOW TO SCREEN FOR MELANOMA GUIDE
Use the ABCDE method created by Dr. Darrell Rigel, when examining your skin. You should screen yourself frequently, at least once a month at minimal.
A - Asymmetry - is the spot symmetrical. If you split it in half will both sides be the same.
B - Border - is there a clearly defined border on the birthmark or mole.
C - Color - is the color even, the same throughout the spot.
D - Diameter - assess the size, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, melanoma is more commonly larger than 6 millimeters.
E - Evolving - have you seen changes to any of the characteristics of the spot; shape, definition, size or color?
Always be safer than sorry, if something looks concerning or you are simply no sure, make an appointment to see a dermatologist.