As it does each year, the American Academy of Dermatology has designated the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®. This chance to promote melanoma awareness and prevention is important to us at Coolibar, because we meet people who live with their melanoma diagnoses every day – and because we meet people who are not familiar with melanoma at all.
Knowing about melanoma can save your life – and sharing what you know can save others! Here is a short list of what we’d like people to understand about melanoma.
Melanoma is the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer.
Some people understand skin cancer treatment as “you find a mole on your skin, you have it removed, that’s it.”
In fact, the majority of melanoma cases involves wide-excision surgery and a lymph node biopsy to determine if the melanoma has spread to other organs. This may be followed by a regimen of immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation treatments. In all cases, the possibility of recurrence must be carefully monitored. For melanoma survivors, the letters NED (no evidence of disease) become vitally important for many years.
The AAD says that melanoma is the most common cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old, and the second most common for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
It’s Easier Than Ever to Prevent Melanoma.
The single best way to prevent melanoma and other skin cancers is to limit exposure to the sun. But some people think that means giving up their favorite activities. Instead, here are a few simple tips to keep you active and healthy:
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and reapply after swimming or strenuous activity.
- Wear sunscreen every day – up to 80% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can reach your skin even when it’s cloudy.
- Seek shade when necessary.
- Wear sun protective clothing!
Each week during Melanoma/Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like you to meet several very courageous people who can tell you about melanoma much better than we can. Their stories are powerful, personal and inspiring (and, unfortunately, similar to many others from people all over the world). But each one will change the way you think about your health and your life.
We’ll introduce the first of these people on Thursday, May 8.
In the meantime, help us spread the word about melanoma!