May is Melanoma Month! It’s the perfect opportunity to take the time to spread awareness, learn about melanoma prevention and how to perform monthly skin checks!
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer of melanocytes1, which are the pigment producing cells of your skin. It is estimated that 90% of melanoma cases are caused from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays. However, family history, genetics, skin type, and where you live are also important factors2.
Dangers of melanoma
Although melanoma isn’t the rarest form of skin cancer, it is the most deadly. Researchers estimate that one person in North America dies from melanoma every hour3. Although this is a big problem, there is hope. Did you know it also has a 98%4 survival rate if found in its early stages? This drops dramatically to 15% if found in its advanced stages. This means that early detection and prevention are key to fighting melanoma.
Melanoma Prevention and Awareness
The good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent or notice melanoma in its early stages! Here are some of the easiest and most important things you can do:
Protect your skin from cancer
Wearing a hat and sunglasses are fantastic ways to begin protecting your skin when you are outside. Applying sunscreen and seeking shade are other important things you can do to help your skin. Remember: Don’t go out in the sun without protecting your skin! UVA rays will age your skin prematurely, and UVB rays will burn you. Did you know that going to tanning beds in your youth increase your chance of melanoma by 75% 3? Save your skin!
Don’t forget to wear the proper amount of sunscreen, and reapply it every couple of hours to make sure you stay protected. There are lots of tips on how to properly apply sunscreen and avoid getting burned by surprise at http://bit.ly/SunscreenHints.
Perform a Monthly Skin Check
A fantastic way to detect melanoma as early as possible is to perform monthly skin checks. It only takes a few minutes of your time each month, but it can make all the difference. To learn how to do a proper skin check so you can have peace of mind about your moles, go to https://molescope.com/self-check/ 5.
There are many things you can do to improve the quality of your skin check. For example, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Studies show that having a partner 6 help you with your skin check increases its effectiveness. A partner helps you see the spots that you might miss, provide moral support, and even help remind you to examine your spots. Skin cancer prevention isn’t something you have to do alone.
Another great way you can track your moles is through taking pictures of them. Partner-aided skin checks are an excellent way to find moles, however it can still be tricky to tell if a spot has changed over time. Taking pictures is helpful for managing your spots and taking the uncertainty out of your skin checks. It’s never a good idea to be left saying, “are you sure that’s the same as last month?”
If you want to take your skin imaging to the next level, it’s time to investigate different technologies that you can use to your advantage. For example, smartphone dermoscopic attachments let you capture detailed images of your moles that your regular camera couldn’t see. When you compare the magnified images of your lesions over time, it will be much easier to notice if there are any changes (such as colour, border, or size!)
What can I do?
Start being skin smart! Take what you’ve learned, do your own research, and use it to build healthy habits in your life that will make a difference. Little things like remembering to put on sunscreen and checking your moles could save your life. Healthy and happy skin starts with you.
Want a chance to win a free MoleScope, the mobile dermoscope device? Visit our Facebook page and Like or Share our post to be entered in the draw, as well as receive free shipping! Who knew starting your journey to being skin smart could be so easy!
Do you like the idea of being able to track your moles through high-quality imaging? Click below for more information!
The MetaOptima Team