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Melonoma

Melanoma

Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment-producing cells in the skin, known as melanocytes. Melanoma occurs when melanocytes transform into cancer cells that multiply and invade other tissues. Melanoma is also curable when detected early, but it can be fatal if it is not detected at an early stage. The overall incidence of melanoma is rising at an alarming rate.
• In 2005, one in 62 Americans have a lifetime risk of developing invasive melanoma, a 2000% increase from 1930. When non-invasive melanoma is included, one in 34 Americans have a lifetime risk of developing melanoma.
• The American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to examine their skin regularly. If there are any changes in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, the development of a new mole, or any other unusual changes in the skin, see your dermatologist immediately.
• Excessive exposure to ultraviolet sunlight is the most preventable cause of melanoma. Melanoma has also been linked to excessive sun exposure in the first 10 to 18 years of life.
• Not all melanomas are sun related – other possible causes include genetic factors and immune system deficiencies. Melanoma can strike anyone. Caucasians are ten times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than other races.

Monthly Skin Cancer Self-Check Tips

Some tips for a thorough self-check include:
• Examine yourself in a well-lit room after shower or bath.
• Rough, dry patches that are red or pink
• Ask a friend or spouse to check hard-to-see areas, such as your back.
• Look at all of your skin, even those areas not regularly exposed to sun.

What are you looking for?
• Smooth, waxy, or pearly lumps
• Rough, dry patches that are red or pink
• Moles that are: unfamiliar, growing, asymmetrical, blurry or frayed, various shades, crusty, and/or bleeding
• Look at all of your skin, even those areas not regularly exposed to the sun.