Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer and 1 in 50 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime. It is estimated that 137,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma just this year, that the same as the population of Pasadena, CA! While this type of skin cancer can be deadly, it can also be treated if it is caught early before it metastasizes or spreads. (Melanoma Research Foundation, 2016)
Doctors urge people to constantly perform a self-skin exam so you know what you look like and what normal is on your body. It’s typically the patients that are the ones who spot melanoma because they are familiar with their own skin. (Melanoma Research Foundation, 2016)
So what is melanoma? It is a form of cancer that begins in the melanocytes; these are cells that give you your skin color, hair color, and eye color by producing melanin pigmentations. These cells are also responsible for forming moles where most melanoma are often found. There are three subcategories of melanoma: cutaneous melanoma, mucosal melanoma, and ocular melanoma. Cutaneous melanoma is what most people refer to when they say skin cancer. Mucosal melanoma occurs in the mucous membranes of the body. Finally Ocular melanoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the eye. (Melanoma Research Foundation, 2016)
Unlike the other cancers, melanoma is typically found on the skin, which makes the detection of it easier in its early stages. However when it goes undetected, melanoma can spread to your organs and becomes metastatic. Stage IV melanoma is very difficult to treat and most commonly spreads to the brain, bones, lungs, and liver making the prognosis very poor. (Melanoma Research Foundation, 2016)
How can you prevent melanoma? Melanoma is most commonly linked to UV (ultraviolet exposure whether it is from natural sunlight and artificial sources like tanning beds. By using suncreens that provide a broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays with at least an SPF of 30 can help if you’re going to be out in the sun. It’s important that you wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses. Also be aware that severe sunburns, especially during ones childhood can increase the risk of developing melanomas. (Melanoma Research Foundation, 2016)
Our customers at North Atlanta Dermatology are raising awareness for Melanoma Month this May with their buttons reminding their customers to get a full body exam. Melanoma is no joke, and as the Melanoma Research Foundation would say #GetNaked.
From all of us at Everyone Loves Buttons, #LuvMyButtons and stay healthy!
Melanoma Research Foundation. (2016). In Melanoma Reseach Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.melanoma.org/understand-melanoma/preventing-melanoma
Melanoma Research Foundation. (2016). In Melanoma Reseach Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.melanoma.org/understand-melanoma/what-is-melanoma
Melanoma Research Foundation. (2016). In Melanoma Reseach Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.melanoma.org/get-involved/advocacy-initiatives/get-naked