Statistics show that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that can affect anyone at any age.
It’s true that melanoma can occur anywhere on the body. It can spread to other organs making it essential to treat the skin cancer early.
Doreen Buckel lost her 28-year-old daughter, Jenny, seven years ago to melanoma. Jenny was a tanner and used the indoor tanning salons on and off for nine years. Unfortunately, Jenny did not know about the dangers of skin cancer.
Doreen tells us, “…I’m not an openly talkative person but that was one thing my daughter wanted when she died. She said, ‘Please, Mom, keep this awareness going.’ So, I’m doing it for Jenny.”
To detect melanoma early, doctors suggest inspecting your entire body once a month for any skin changes. At least 90 percent of melanoma is caused by exposure to the sun, so remember to apply SPF 30 or higher on all exposed skin including your lips.
Wearing sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats, and protective; tightly-woven clothing is also helpful. Melanoma can also be genetic, but here in Erie, we have a little over 100 patients a year that develop it from sun damage.
Dr. Laura Figura, Plastic Surgeon at UPMC Hamot, says, “we look in places that patients can’t look if there’s a concern; we even look in the private areas but often patients will come and they’ll know someplace that they’re concerned about. We feel the areas, we touch the areas, and sometimes a biopsy is indicated and biopsies come in all different manners”.
If you experience itching, bleeding, or find a newly-developed mole, contact your dermatologist for an examination.
If you do like tanning for special occasions, Dr. Figura suggests getting a spray tan, which also gives you immediate results.