February 2, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President
There is always something new to learn about melanoma, and skin cancer in general. Through this blog, we’re able to continually reach countless people with these updates and contribute to the public’s education on the subject.
We also know that it’s important to occasionally look back and help refresh memories on the basics of this disease. That’s what we’ve done here today.
Of course, we can’t fit every bit of data into a single blog post. So, we’ve focused on a few of the most important melanoma subtopics. We’re presenting this in easy-to-read bullet point form with the hope that readers will bookmark this post for easily-repeatable access.
For those who are interested in more in-depth information on a given post, each bold headline is also a clickable link directly back to the original article on its topic.
- Most dangerous of the two main types of melanoma (Radial is the other)
- Typically presents initially on previously unblemished skin
- Often dome-shaped
- Can be multiple colors, though usually black, blue-black, dark brown or brown-red
- Unlike most skin cancers, begins its development beneath the skin’s surface
- Constitutes about 20% in adults, but 40%-60% in teens, pre-teens and adolescents
- Sunscreen is an excellent skin-protector, but only if applied and re-applied correctly
- Most sunscreen users apply only 25% of the amount needed to enjoy its full protective impact
- Minimum amount to apply if wearing a bathing suit would fill a shot glass
- A sufficient amount of sunscreen must be applied evenly over all sun-exposed skin to achieve maximum effectiveness
- Sunscreen must be re-applied every two hours at minimum. More frequently if the wearer has been swimming and/or sweating
- Anyone can develop melanoma from the day he or she is born
- Up to 10 years old, melanoma is frequently red; though it can present as pink or flesh-colored
- Melanoma in 11-18-year-olds is similar in appearance to melanoma in adults
- Infants should be completely protected from the sun until they’re at least 6 months old
- Focus is on helping middle and high school health educators correctly teach their students about melanoma detection and prevention
- Research data reveals these lessons are extremely effective
- Taught in over 1,700 schools in all 50 states
- Brief and to the point to accommodate the short attention spans of young people
- More effective than sun safety-based lessons
- To learn more, teachers and parents may watch this 3-minute long introductory video. Afterward, teachers can register for totally free access to the lesson-videos and other free resources.
- Highly-effective tool for use in early melanoma detection
- Most patients discover their own melanoma before their doctors do
- Unless there’s something visually obvious or the subject is broached to them, most doctors don’t even bother checking for skin cancer during routine appointments
- 30% of melanomas develop on skin that is rarely exposed to the sun
- Once a month, check your entire body for suspicious or changing moles and skin growths. Including under the hair.
- Employ mirrors and/or a significant other/good friend to assist checking areas you cannot see
- Ask hair stylists and tattoo artists to alert you if they come across any suspicious-looking growths
- If caught early enough, melanoma’s cure rate is nearly 100%. If allowed to develop untreated, with enough time it will nearly always become fatal. Early detection is paramount.
- About 40% of tanning salons ignore state laws, and very often get away with doing so
- Tanning leads to a massive increase in the odds of developing skin cancer; especially in young women, who frequent these salons more than any other age and gender demographic
- More skin cancer is caused by tanning beds than lung cancer is caused by smoking
We encourage you to read any of the wide variety of previous posts on our blog, along with our new posts., and visit Skincheck.org for more good information on this horrible, yet mostly preventable, disease.