May is recognized as Melanoma Awareness Month, a time when people are encouraged to learn about melanoma, its risk factors, and how to protect themselves from this deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that arises from the pigment cells in the skin, known as melanocytes. It is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with an estimated 7,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.
At VIDA Aesthetic Medicine, we recognize the importance of raising awareness about melanoma and the steps people can take to protect their skin. In this blog post, we will discuss what melanoma is, its risk factors, and how to prevent it.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce pigment (color) in the skin. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, but it is most commonly found on the face, neck, arms, and legs. Melanoma can also develop in the eyes and other parts of the body.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer because it can spread quickly to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes and organs, making it much harder to treat. It is important to catch melanoma early and get treatment as soon as possible.
Risk Factors for Melanoma
There are several risk factors that increase a person’s likelihood of developing melanoma. These include:
- Exposure to UV radiation: Melanoma is often caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. People who spend a lot of time in the sun or use tanning beds are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.
- Fair skin: People with fair skin, light-colored hair, and blue or green eyes are at a higher risk of developing melanoma because they have less melanin in their skin, which provides natural protection against UV radiation.
- Family history: If someone in your family has had melanoma, you are at a higher risk of developing it too.
- Age: Melanoma can occur at any age, but it is more commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 50.
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing melanoma. These include:
- Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, even on cloudy days.
- Wear Protective Clothing: Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside.
- Seek Shade: Stay in the shade during peak hours of sunlight, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Avoid Tanning Beds: Tanning beds are not safe and can increase your risk of developing melanoma.
- Check Your Skin: Regularly examine your skin for any changes in moles or new growths.
Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer, but it can be prevented. By taking steps to protect your skin from UV radiation and regularly checking your skin for changes, you can reduce your risk of developing melanoma. At VIDA Aesthetic Medicine, we encourage everyone to take care of their skin and learn about the importance of melanoma awareness. Let’s work together to raise awareness and prevent melanoma.