Thursday, July 24, 2008

Beware of the Sun

Most of you probably already know this but I am speaking from experience. Please make sure you wear sunscreen everyday (even when it is overcast) and check you body regularly for any moles that have the following acronym: ABCDE

B=boarders (irregular/fuzzy)
C=color (uneven/dark)
D=dimension (larger than the eraser on a pencil)
E=every other mole. . .is it different?

  • Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer and more than 1 million cases are diagnosed each year.
  • 1 in every 5 Americans will develop some kind of skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 62,480 melanomas will be diagnosed this year, with nearly 8,420 resulting in death.
  • Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for young adults 15-29 years old.

Although people with fair skin and that burn easily are more at risk that doesn't mean that others won't get it. I recently had a skin lesion removed that the doctor believes is a melanoma. I never burn, have olive skin, and I still got it. Scientists have actually discovered that a gene is actually associated with melanomas and they are trying to come up with a vaccine that will fight off the cancer. Please get yourself checked and if you think something looks different get it checked out. The lesion, which looked like a dark mole, was on my foot for about a year and I just got it removed today. Don't wait! I am sure that I am fine so this isn't to worry you. My results come back on Monday, but I want everyone to be safe. Here are some pictures of types of skin cancer for you to look at.

Prompt action is your best protection. The pictures below show atypical normal moles and melanomas.

Benign Malignant
Symmetrical mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Asymmetrical
Borders are even mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Borders are uneven
One shade mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Two or more shades
Smaller than 1/4 inch mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Larger than 1/4

Here are some pictures on checking for skin cancer:

What you'll need:
a bright light; a full-length mirror; a hand mirror; two chairs or stools; a blow-dryer.

scillus1.gif Examine head and face, using one or both mirrors. Use blow-dryer to inspect scalp.
scillus2.gif Check hands, including nails. In full-length mirror, examine elbows, arms, underarms.
scillus3.gif Focus on neck, chest, torso. Women: Check under breasts.
scillus4.gif With back to the mirror, use hand mirror to inspect back of neck, shoulders, upper arms, back, buttocks, legs.
scillus5.gif Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, and nails. Use hand mirror to examine genitals.

***Make sure you check everywhere,
even your ears and your eyes.
Anywhere you get sun exposure.

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