Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with melanoma being one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates about 87,110 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2017 and about 9,730 people are expected to die of melanoma this year in the United States.

Melanoma is a cancer of the cells that produce our skin’s pigment or color. It develops when those cells begin to change and replicate uncontrollably.

There are several risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop melanoma. Exposure to ultraviolet rays is one major risk factor, and these UV rays may be from the sun or from other UV sources such as tanning beds. Another risk factor is your skin type – if you have red or blond hair, green or blue eyes, and fair skin, your risk for developing melanoma is higher. Lastly, your risk of melanoma is higher if one or more of your first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) has had melanoma. Around 10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of the disease.

The good news is you can take action to protect yourself and your family from developing melanoma, or catch it early resulting in a better prognosis. If melanoma is recognized and treated early it is often curable.

Daily use of sunscreen containing Zinc and SPF 30 or higher is an important step in prevention. Wearing protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts will also protect your skin from the sun. When outdoors, seek shade, especially during midday hours. Regular skin exams by your dermatologist and checking your own skin frequently can help find skin cancers early when they are easiest to treat. Learning the general appearance of your moles and freckles can also help you notice any changes that may occur and then quickly bring those to the attention of your dermatologist.

Be smart about your skin and sun and stay proactive about skin cancer. Call today to schedule your skin exam and stop by Clear MedSpa to find the right sunscreen for you and your family! All sunscreens are 20% off the entire month of May! 251-928-3844


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