May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month – an important time to spread awareness and focus on the deadliest of skin cancers, Melanoma. Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers worldwide, especially in young women under 30. Over the last three decades, the incidence of Melanoma in the United States as tripled and is one of the top ten causes of new cancer cases.
The greatest contributor to melanoma (approximately 65%), is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from natural or artificial sources, such as sunlight and indoor tanning beds, although melanomas can be linked to a combination of family history, genetics and environmental factors. Some can occur in all melanocytes throughout the body, even those that are never exposed to the sun. While UV light is the most common cause of Melanoma, it cannot be solely responsible for a diagnosis.
Most melanoma is curable in its early stages, with an over 90% survival rate. However, if not detected early, those statistics drop drastically once melanoma spreads to other parts of the body. So while melanoma only accounts for 4% of skin cancers, it accounts for 80% of all skin cancer-related deaths.
In the United States, it is estimated that more than 68,000 Americans were diagnosed with melanoma in 2012 – that’s one diagnosis every eight minutes. Statistically, approximately 8,700 of those diagnosed will die of melanoma – that’s one every hour!
Even though efforts like National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and articles and blogs like this attempt to educate and inform the population about melanoma, the death rate from melanoma has not changed in 30 years.
Early detection is the best defense. This includes checking your skin regularly, paying attention to any freckle, mole or skin growth at suddenly appears, or changes – and it includes an annual skin exam by a dermatologist. For many though, that can be a costly expense (even if it is a life-saving one).
So, thanks to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you can get a Free Skin Cancer Screening. Each year the Skin Cancer Foundation puts together a Road to Healthy Skin Tour. In 2013 the tour will be making its way across the U.S. for the sixth year in a row. The mobile Tour kicks off in the New York City area in May for Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and will be making its way from the east coast to the south and then the west coast over the next four months. Check the Tour Schedule to see if they will be visiting a Rite Aid store in your community.
Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society suggest, simply wearing a hat, can mean the difference for a large majority of UV caused Melanoma, Hat Day In the Sun is becoming a new annual awareness movement. For additional information please visit our friends at https://americanhatmakers.com/skincare-prevention-tips-from-american-hat-makers-sponsors-of-2017-hat-day-in-the-sun/
Please review the chart below to help identify melanoma, then log into the Skin Cancer Foundation Road to Healthy Skin Tour site and find a date and location in your state.