Although melanoma is considered a less common form of skin cancer, you might be surprised to learn it’s the second most common cancer in women aged 25-40 and it is the leading cause of cancer death for this age group.
Compared to other cancers, melanoma may seem fairly straightforward. But there’s more to this disease than meets the eye. Dermatologist Ashfaq Marghoob of the MSK Skin Cancer Center Hauppauge shares some facts that you may find surprising, and even helpful, as you prepare to keep your skin safe from the sun this summer.
When it comes to melanoma, I tell my patients: annual skin checks are crucial. Melanoma develops when your skin cells are damaged by ultraviolet sunlight. Knowing how to spot these malignant tumors—which appear on the skin as dark, irregular moles, is essential. If caught late, stage 4 melanoma has about a 15%, five-year survival rate.
To help you and your dermatologist identify any rogue moles, remember the ABC D’s of melanoma, and report any changes to your dermatologist right away:
A is for asymmetry
The mole has an irregular, uneven shape.
B is for border irregularity
The edges of the mole are ragged or uneven.
C is for color
The color is uneven or has changed from when you first noticed the mole.
D is for diameter
The mole is larger than a pencil eraser.
You’re at greater risk for melanoma if you have fair skin and light eyes, a family history of the disease, and lots of irregular moles on your body. Your risk also goes up if you use tanning salons or had excessive sun exposure, especially during childhood.
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