Summary: With over five million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is the most common cancer that the human population is facing to date. Thankfully, this type of cancer is also one of the most treatable and preventable forms. By raising awareness each May of the dangers of unprotected sun exposure and encouraging sun-safe habits, we can help to change behaviors which can in turn save lives. Do you part and educate on the dangers of skin cancer today!
Each year in May, the entire month is dedicated to skin cancer detection and prevention! During this very important month, patients, survivors, their caretakers and support teams, along with their medical care teams and board-certified dermatologists are all recognized and highlighted for the work that they do for those who develop and fight skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology also encourages any Skin Cancer Hero to come forward to share their story to help to inform and empower as many people as they can about the facts of skin cancer.
Skin cancer detection is a key part of early diagnosis and wholly healing from this form of cancer. Prevention and taking steps to lower your risks each day are important steps every human should be taking. When spotted early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Early detection starts with you! Here are the things that dermatologists from the AAD are recommending this May:
- Preform regular skin checks on yourself and your
partner. Make this examination part of your intimate routine or during a
special massage time with your partner. When checking, take note of any and all
spots on the skin from moles to freckles, and age spots as well. A general
reminder on how to properly give an all-body skin check.
- Examine your partners body front and back and then ask them to lift their arms for you to check their right and left side thoroughly.
- Bend their elbows, and check their armpits, underarms and palms.
- Examine the back of their neck, scalp and forehead. Part their hair and check the scalp in various places. It may be hard to check the entire scalp depending on how much hair is present.
- Check their back and buttocks.
- Lastly, check their legs, feet, inner thighs and soles of their feet. Also check in between the toes- which is one of the more forgotten places to look for signs of cancer.
- Use the ABCDE’s of melanoma to determine if your
skin spots, moles, tags or otherwise have changed and need to be evaluated by a
medical professional. Those guidelines are as follows:
- Asymmetry occurs when one side of the skin mark is different from the other.
- The Border of your mole or skin tag should not be irregular, scalloped or poorly defined; or if the borders suddenly change and take on a new shape.
- If the Color of your mole or skin tag varies in different areas or has various shades of tan, brown, black, white, blue or red.
- The Diameter of your mole or skin tag could be smaller than a pencil eraser or larger than 6mm in size, and still be cancer.
- If your mole or skin lesion begins to Evolve and change drastically in any way, do not wait to have it evaluated by a medical professional.
- Take immediate action if there are any unusual spots on your skin! Do not wait to seek out medical help if you suspect you may have skin cancer.
How can I help spread awareness about skin cancer?
Curious on how you can help spread the word about cancer detection and prevention month this May? There are many ways in varying degrees of difficulty that you can assist with. Here are the most common ways for people to help:
- Share your story! Have you been affected by skin cancer? During the month of May, please share your story on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your favorite social media platform, and encourage your loved ones to share it too. Please include the hashtag #MySkinCancerJourney in your post so we can follow along and create a powerful community of healthy skin champions.
- Raise awareness through education. This might sound daunting, but really it could be as simple as sharing infographics on social media and sharing the detailed facts about the most diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. Sun damage is cumulative, meaning people need to take precautions each and every day of their lives.
- Help to raise money to fund lifesaving research programs and treatment programs for the indigent. There are numerous local and nationwide organizations that work tirelessly on cancer and its effect on the whole-being and life. Contact these organizations and volunteer or donate how you can.
- Connect with local and national foundations and organizations that educate and help to drive the open conversation about cancers and their effects on peoples lives. Social media is now one of the leading sources of information for millions of people across the globe.
- Empower the younger generations with the knowledge they need to understand the dangers of skin cancers and all of the risk factors and ways they increase their risk everyday of developing some form of cancer. Knowledge is power and giving them the tools they need to thrive and be healthy in this world is one of the best things you can do.
If you want to help more in your community with helping to educate on skin cancers, contact your local cancer organization and support groups on ways that you can reach out, empower, and help. And if you or someone you know suspects they may be dealing with skin cancer, encourage and help them to get the medical treatment and testing they need.