What is melanoma?
The least common type of skin cancer, melanoma, is the most deadly. While it’s least common over all, it is the most common form of cancer among 25 to 29-year-olds. Melanocytes, the cells in the bottom layer of the epidermis, produce melanin, which is responsible for skin pigmentation.
Melanomas often present as dark brown or black spots on the skin and they spread rapidly to internal organs and the lymph system, making them quite dangerous.
One thing is key: early detection of skin cancer is critical. (See Skin Check)
About 90 percent of nonmelanoma cancers are attributable to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Do the following:
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
- Cover up the arms and legs with protective clothing.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Use sunscreens year round with SPF of 15 or greater and sunblocks that work on both UVA and UVB rays. Look for products that use the term “broad spectrum.”
- Check your skin monthly and contacting your dermatologist if you notice any changes.
- Get regular skin examinations. Adults over 40 should get an annual exam with a dermatologist. The staff at Dermatology and Skin Health is ready to take your call.