May is Melanoma Awareness Month

 

I’ve posted about our family’s experiences with melanoma before.  We were lucky and caught it in time but a good family friend didn’t.

May is designated as National Melanoma Month.   Included in that designation is National Melanoma Monday, which is the first Monday in May.  The American Academy of Dermatology has set aside this day to raise awareness about skin cancer.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and it is the deadliest of skin cancers.

There will be many events focused on skin health, sun safety, tanning prevention, and skin cancer screenings and resources.

All are asked to join the American Academy of Dermatology in wearing orange and encouraging others to wear orange for skin cancer awareness.

Know the warning signs and check with your doctor if any of them appear.

Early signs of melanoma are changes to the shape or color of existing moles or, in the case of nodular melanoma, the appearance of a new lump anywhere on the skin. At later stages, the mole may itch, ulcerate or bleed. Early signs of melanoma are summarized by the mnemonic “ABCDE”:

  • Asymmetry
  • Borders (irregular with edges and corners)
  • Color (variegated)
  • Diameter (greater than 6 mm (0.24 in), about the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving over time

These classifications do not, however, apply to the most dangerous form of melanoma, nodular melanoma, which has its own classifications:

  • Elevated above the skin surface
  • Firm to the touch
  • Growing

Metastatic melanoma may cause nonspecific paraneoplastic symptoms, including loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Metastasis of early melanoma is possible, but relatively rare: less than a fifth of melanomas diagnosed early become metastatic. Brain metastases are particularly common in patients with metastatic melanoma. It can also spread to the liver, bones, abdomen or distant lymph nodes.

 

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