Melanoma develops in the cells of your skin that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color. If melanoma goes untreated it can travel through the body, attacks organs and can potentially be fatal. You’re at a greater risk for melanoma if you have:
- Fair skin, blond or red hair
- Light colored eyes
- A history of sunburns
- Excessive exposure to UV light from the sun or tanning beds
- A family history of melanoma
- Many moles or large moles
If found early, melanoma is curable. It’s very important that you check your skin regularly. You should look for changes in moles that you already have or new and unusual growths. When looking for unusual moles think about A-B-C-D-E:
Asymmetrical- A suspicious moles has two halves that don’t match if a line were drawn through it
Borders- Look for moles with edges that aren’t smooth or even.
Color- Be wary of moles with multiple colors or shades
Diameter- Cancerous moles are usually larger than an eraser on a pencil
Evolving- Look for moles that grow, change color or shape, or start to itch or bleed
If you find a suspicious mole, make sure that you talk to your family doctor or dermatologist. 80 percent of melanoma cases can be cured by removing only the affected skin. Ways you can protect yourself is by:
- Avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, reapply every two hours
- Wear a hat with a wide brim
- Avoid tanning booths
- Wear tightly woven, dark-colored clothes that cover your arms and legs
Also, if you have a family history of melanoma or skin cancer it’s a good idea to think about getting life insurance before something happens to you. Melanoma is more common that most people think, which is why you should take preventive measures. Waiting too long to obtain life insurance can be detrimental to you and your family.
Information found from: Lehigh Valley Health Network