Sun safety: tips to preventing melanoma - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sun safety: tips to preventing melanoma

(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS) (Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)

The sun is out and so is much of the Heartland.

However, as a part of melanoma Monday dermatologists are warning about the potential for skin cancer.

Melanoma is not the most common skin cancer, but it is the deadliest.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 73,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2015, and nearly 10,000 people aer expected to die from the disease.

Charles Moon, a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology in Cape Girardeau, says this cancer does not discriminate.

"A lot of people don't realize, they think it's only going to affect someone that has worked outdoors their entire life," Moon said. "But it affects many people in younger years sometimes with fatal outcomes. But men and women, all ages are affected. Usually not very common in children but in the ages of 30 and above we do start to see more cases of melanoma."

Moon said, if caught early, melanoma is typically treatable, and in many cases even preventable.

However, he said it is likely so deadly because it can go unnoticed.

"Often times melanomas pop up in areas where we can't see," Moon said. "The back is the most common place for a man to develop melanoma. A woman the common location is the leg specifically, the calves. A lot of people don't think to look at the back of their legs. So why it is that, we don't know. You would think it would be on our face, would be the most common location where we get the most sun exposure. But in actuality it's not."

A recent survey published by the American Academy of Dermatology found 37 percent of people rarely or never apply sunscreen to their back when it is exposed to the sun and 43 percent rarely or never ask anyone to help apply sunscreen to their back.

But doctors like Moon say, get over it.

He suggests using sun protection even if you're not going to be out for very long.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identifying symptoms of melanoma can be as easy as remembering the A-B-C-D-Es of the disease:

  • “A” stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • “B” stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • “C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
  • “D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • “E” is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?
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