Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer

 

melanomaMelanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. Most melanomas appear black or black-blue. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be considered abnormal or have an “ugly looking" appearance.Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. Most melanomas appear black or black-blue. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be considered abnormal or have an “ugly looking" appearance.

Thinking of "ABCDE" can help you remember what to watch for:

  • Asymmetry - the shape of one half does not match the other 
  • Border - the edges are ragged, blurred or irregular 
  • Color - the color is uneven and may include shades of black, brown and tan 
  • Diameter - there is a change in size, usually an increase 
  • Evolving - the mole has changed over the past few weeks or months

 

Skin checks are an important step in detection. The American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign provides a resource titled DETECT Skin Cancer: Body Mole Map. This resource provides easy instructions on how to complete skin exams. Download the Body Mole Map.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays causes most cases of melanoma. To lower your skin cancer risk, it is important to protect your skin from the sun all year round using several different approaches. Useful approaches include: wearing sun-safe clothing, a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses and sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor).

There are different types of treatment for this condition and it is important to discuss concerns and treatment with your health care provider. The PCHC Health Promotion Activity Plan (HPAP) for Melanoma/Skin Cancer is an easy way to plan supports for someone with this diagnosis. The plan can be personalized to an individual’s needs.

It can be found at: https://www.pchc.org/images/PDFs/HPAPs/Melanoma%20Skin%20Cancer.pdf

References and Resources

https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/programs/skin-cancer-awareness-month

https://medlineplus.gov/melanoma.html

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/index.htm