Raise awareness on melanoma

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and the number of new cases is on the rise. You can lower your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers by protecting yourself from ultraviolet (UV) radiation all year long, not just during the summer months.

Being exposed to UV radiation is a risk factor for skin cancers, including melanoma. In the United States, the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure. To protect yourself from UV radiation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying in the shade, wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs, and using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection.

In addition to increased exposure to UV radiation, people with the following risk factors are more likely than others to develop skin cancer:

  • A lighter natural skin color
  • Family history, or personal history of skin cancer
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Blond or red hair
  • Certain types and a large number of moles

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, but the good news is that it is largely preventable, and can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. 

Talk to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) to see what tests might be appropriate for you to prevent or treat skin cancer. For more information, Sharp Health News created this infographic on the ABCDEs of how to check yourself for potential signs of melanoma.