Though melanoma accounts for 1 percent of all skin cancers diagnosed in the United States, it disproportionately causes the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, in 2018, more than 91,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed (about 55,150 in men and 36,120 in women). Also in this year, the American Cancer Society predicts more than 9,000 people will die as a result of melanoma (about 5,990 men and 3,330 women).
Melanoma is not only the deadliest form of skin cancer; it is the fifth most common cancer among men and the sixth most common cancer in women. Additionally, the rate at which people receive melanoma diagnoses has been steadily rising for the last three decades.
Join Us May 7 for Your Free Skin Cancer Screening
As with many other types of cancer, early detection and diagnosis are the keys to winning the battle against melanoma. Despite being the most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma has a nearly 100 percent survival rate when it is detected early.
Dr. David Sax and the University Park Dermatology team are dedicated to helping patients learn about the dangers of melanoma and help prevent them from becoming part of the statistics listed above. That’s why we are hosting Melanoma Monday on Monday, May 7. During this special event, we will be offering free skin cancer screenings to all new patients.
On Melanoma Monday, we will also be offering:
- Special prices on sunscreen
- Gift bags (while supplies last)
- A – Asymmetry
- B – Border
- C – Color
- D – Diameter
- E – Evolving
- An average of one person dies of melanoma every hour of every day.
- Most cases of melanoma are directly linked to UV-induced damage, including from the sun as well as from tanning beds. Bad sunburns, especially at a young age, are also associated with melanoma.
- The average age when people first receive a melanoma diagnosis is 63. However, younger people are also at risk for getting melanoma.
- Melanoma is the No. 1 most diagnosed cancer among 25- to 29-year-olds in the United States. For 15- to 29-year-olds, it is the third most common for men and fourth most common for women.
- Tanning bed use before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 percent. There is also an association between UV-emitting tanning devices and ocular melanoma, a type of eye cancer.
- Before reaching age 50, more women get diagnosed with melanoma than men. However, by age 65, the rate is more than double in men. By age 80, the rate of melanoma in men is nearly three times higher than in women.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded UVA and UVB rays cause DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer in lab animals and humans.
- Your risk of melanoma increases if one or more of your parents, brothers, sisters or children have had melanoma. Around 10 percent of all people with melanoma have a family history of the disease.
- Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.5 percent for whites, 0.1 percent for African Americans and 0.5 percent for Latinos.
- Since 2007, 11 new FDA-approved melanoma treatments have been introduced.
- Their initial surgery cures most people with melanoma. Among all people with melanoma of the skin, from the time of initial diagnosis, the five-year survival is 92 percent, which is another reason early detection is so vital.
Please call our clinic at (941) 275-6945 to schedule an appointment time.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Melanoma?
In addition to getting your free skin cancer screening with us on May 7, you can be proactive about your skin’s health by educating yourself about what steps you can take to identify the early warning signs of this deadly cancer.
1. Examine your skin regularly.
Recognizing and noting changes in your skin is the best way to detect melanoma early. Add monthly skin checks to your routine, and use a hand mirror to look at areas such as your back that are hard to see. Download this “mole map” from the American Academy of Dermatology to keep track of skin irregularities such as moles, freckles and sunspots.
2. Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma.
Pay attention to the following characteristics of your moles or skin growths, which are easy to remember using the mnemonic device ABCDE:
The two halves of the mole do not match up.
The mole has an irregular or vaguely defined border.
The mole does not remain a consistent color throughout. Moles may display shades of tan, brown or black, and can even be white, red or blue.
Melanomas are usually larger than the size of a pencil eraser at the time of initial diagnosis, but they can be smaller.
If you notice a mole or skin lesion that has begun to look different or change in size, shape or color, this is a red flag; that’s why it’s crucial to pay attention to all your moles and freckles and keep track of how they look from one month to the next.
If you notice one or more of these signs, contact our clinic to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sax.
3. Get regular skin exams.
Some people are at higher risk for developing melanoma than others. They include people with fair skin and light hair and eyes; a history of severe sunburns; having excessive or unusual moles; or a family history of melanoma. Those individuals should consider discussing the benefits of scheduling regular skin examinations with Dr. Sax.
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What Else Should You Know About Melanoma?
Here are some additional eye-opening statistics about melanoma, courtesy of the Melanoma Research Alliance, which is the largest nonprofit private funder of melanoma research.
Don’t Miss Melanoma Monday, and Schedule Regular Skin Screenings With Us
If you have never had a skin cancer screening – or if it’s been a while since the last time you visited a dermatologist – please make it a priority to come see us on Melanoma Monday. We value your health, and we want you to be aware that an early melanoma diagnosis could help save your life.
You can also contact our Sarasota clinic anytime to schedule an appointment with our board-certified and award-winning dermatologist, Dr. David Sax. Please call our clinic at (941) 275-6945 to book your appointment, either for Melanoma Monday or a regular skin screening.