Raising Awareness with Melanoma Monday

Cynthia Bailey, MD|May 4, 2015

 Melanoma Monday

With warmer weather quickly approaching, it’s an exciting time of year for people of all ages. It means that pool season is here, time for the beach, outdoor sports and a host of other fun activities. What it also means is that the days are longer and the UV rays are stronger.

You know that here at Dr. Bailey Skin Care, we advocate protecting your skin all year long because the sun damage happens in winter. That said, we focus intensely on the topic as the weather warms because we know our readers will be outside more, wearing less clothing to protect their skin and UVB is stronger in spring, summer and fall.  Skin cancer is real, it's the most common cancer on the planet and it can happen to anyone. In an effort to raise awareness of this, and specifically, melanoma, the American Academy of Dermatology designated the first Monday of May as Melanoma Monday. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. "...these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors." Here are some sobering (motivating) facts on this deadly form of skin cancer from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease.
  • It kills an estimated 9,940 people in the US annually.
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 57 minutes).
  • While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths.
    • Melanoma accounts for less than two percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that, at present, more than 135,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year.
  • In 2015, an estimated 73,870 of these will be invasive melanomas:
    •  about 42,670 in males
    • about 31,200 in women
  • 1 in 50 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma of the skin during their lifetime.
  • Melanoma is one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men, along with liver cancer and esophageal cancer.
  • Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
  • Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma.
  • About one in every 10 patients diagnosed with the disease has a family member with a history of melanoma.
  • Each person with a first-degree relative diagnosed with melanoma has a 50 percent greater chance of developing the disease than people who do not have a family history of the disease.
  • Compromised immune systems as the result of chemotherapy, an organ transplant, excessive sun exposure, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS or lymphoma can increase your risk of melanoma.
  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the US each year are linked to indoor tanning, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas, and 6,200 melanomas.

For more facts on melanoma, you can visit www.skincancer.org One of the most important methods of prevention is, of course, using sunscreen. Dr. Bailey covers this topic extensively in her many of her blog posts, including 5 Steps for Smart Skin Protection, How to Pick the Best Sunscreen, and How to Know Which Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is Right for You. Another way to stop melanoma in its tracks is to do a mole check regularly. You'll be looking for the A-E of Skin Cancer: A-E Skin Cancer_main-01 Thankfully, The American Academy of Dermatology created a video, helping to explain what the process looks like.

Melanoma is on the rise. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, of the seven most common cancers in the US, melanoma is the only one whose incidence is increasing. Between 2000 and 2009, incidence climbed 1.9 percent annually. This is why Melanoma Monday is an important part of preventing cancer by raising awareness of this deadly disease. Help us spread the word!  Click these share buttons that we've put right here and send this message out to the people in your life - you might just help save someone you love!   DSC_0004Tammy is a certified health coach currently writing to help encourage nutrition and healthy living, both inside and out. She's new to Dr. Bailey's team, sharing in Dr. Bailey's passion for natural skin care and dislike of processed sugar (despite her impressive sweet tooth). When she isn't writing and talking to people about food, she's traveling, taking pictures, and reading trashy romance and nutrition books.

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