Each year, over 1.2 million American are diagnosed with skin cancer. Of the many types of skin cancer, perhaps the most dangerous is melanoma. May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so the Skin Smart team is using this opportunity to educate our patients about this deadly disease.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of cancer which develops from melanocytes, pigment-producing cells in the skin. Melanoma is primarily caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning devices. These rays break down DNA in the skin—in particular, lightly pigmented skin—which eventually may lead to cancer.
Melanoma often presents as a mole, which may change in size, have irregular edges, itch, or otherwise display concerning symptoms. However, the disease is known to spread, or metastasize, throughout the body. This metastasis is what makes melanoma so dangerous.
While melanoma is a serious condition, it is not necessarily fatal. When caught early, the prognosis for melanoma sufferers is quite good.
How Can Skin Smart Patients Prevent Melanoma?
The first line of defense against skin cancer: sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen. Melanoma is mostly caused by sun exposure, so regularly wearing sunscreen is an important preventative step. Skin Smart offers a number of great sunscreens, including Essential Defense Mineral Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 35 and TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer with SPF 20. In general, try to avoid prolonged sun exposure, and skip out on tanning beds entirely.
Secondly, it is important to regularly monitor your skin for new or growing moles and other lesions that may be cancerous. We urge individuals to perform monthly head-to-toe self-checkups, and to get any suspicious growths examined by a qualified medical provider. If you are over 40 or have a family history of skin cancer, you should also schedule yearly full body screenings at the dermatologist. The earlier you catch melanoma, the more likely you are to defeat it, so pay attention to what your skin is communicating.
Who We Are:
At Skin Smart Dermatology and Skin Care Center, we care about helping our patients achieve radiant and healthy skin. Skin Smart is a team of dermatologists and aestheticians serving Chestnut Hill, Flourtown, Lansdale, Jamison, Glenside, Lansdale, Roxborough, Abington, Doylestown, Oreland, Warrington, New Britain, and surrounding areas.
For personalized recommendations for skin health and beauty, please contact us at 215-836-7212, or schedule an appointment with us online.