Monday, June 2, 2014 Article: Six Facts That Would Surprise You About Melanoma

The following is a preview of an article Dr. Miller wrote for Click here to read the full article.

1.     Melanoma Can Occur On Areas That Never See The Sun
Surprisingly, melanoma can occur on any skin surface, including those that have never been exposed to the sun. In fact melanoma can occur on areas inside the body such as the retina of the eye, and the lining of the spinal cord.

2.     Sun Exposure Is Not The Only Risk Factor For Melanoma
Getting blistering sunburn increases your risk for melanoma. However, some estimates say that having a first degree family member such as your father, mother, sister or brother who has been diagnosed with melanoma, can increase your risk by 60 times more than someone who does not have that family history.

3.     Melanoma Is Not Always Dark In Color
While the majority of melanomas are dark or black in color and irregular in shape, they can be red, pink, purple and skin colored among other colors. For this reason, any new growth on the body should be examined by a dermatologist and biopsied, if necessary, to determine if it is cancerous.

4.     Melanoma Affects All Races
While Caucasians are 20 times more likely to develop melanoma than dark-skinned people, dark-skinned people can and do get melanoma. About one in 50 Caucasians will get melanoma, while about one in 1000 dark-skinned people will get melanoma.

5.     Melanoma Is The Most Commonly Diagnosed Cancer For Young Adults
Melanoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for people aged 25-29 years and is the second most common cancer in young adults aged 15-29 years old. Therefore, annual skin screening by a dermatologist should begin early in life, particularly for people with a family history of melanoma and a history of sunburn.

6.     The Incidence Of Melanoma Is Increasing Faster In Females Aged 15 to 29.
Melanoma is being diagnosed more frequently in females aged 15 to 29 than it is in males of the same age group. This is postulated to be due to high-risk tanning behaviors. Just one session in a tanning bed increases the risk for melanoma by 20% and each additional exposure to a tanning bed increases that risk by 2%. Studies show that people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75%. For this reason, many states have imposed a ban on tanning bed use by minors under the age of 18 years old.

It is extremely important to schedule regular skin screenings in addition to taking preventive measures to protect your skin. To schedule your skin screening with Greenville Dermatology, call (864) 242-5872 today. 

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