Did you know? Although Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer, if detected early enough, it is almost always 100% curable. The key is learning how to recognize the signs and seek treatment before it becomes too advanced. If you need advice, do not hesitate to get in touch with your local pharmacy where you can get tips about prevention and detection.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of cancer that first manifests in the melanocytes, the cells that create pigment in the skin. While it usually forms on the skin, it can also appear in the eye or intestines as well. Like other forms of cancer, it can spread to other parts of the body.
Early Warning Signs of Melanoma
As noted, if Melanoma is identified in the early stages, it can be cured entirely. That means it is crucial to learn what to look for when conducting a self-exam of your skin each month. It is important to look for new moles or growths and to note if there are significant changes to existing ones. This includes lesions that change shape, begin to itch, or are not healing.
Talk to your local pharmacy for advice on what you should look for, but one of the best ways to remember what to look for during a self-exam is the ABCDE method:
- A – Asymmetrical – Melanoma lesions are usually irregular in shape.
- B – Border – It is often difficult to define the border of a melanoma lesion.
- C – Color – If multiple colors are present or are unevenly distributed, it can suggest Melanoma in the early stages.
- D – Diameter – Melanoma lesions are usually larger than 6mm in diameter.
- E – Evolution – Moles that change color, shape, or size must be examined by a dermatologist.
Steps to Prevent Melanoma
One of the biggest triggers for Melanoma is exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. A sunscreen is an essential tool in your arsenal. You can get tips about the best sunscreen for your skin and which SPF you need at your local pharmacy. However, sunscreen alone is not enough to prevent Melanoma. You will also need to keep these tips in mind:
Try to stay in the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is at its peak.
- Avoid getting sunburned.
- Never use UV tanning beds.
- When in the sun, cover up with clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and Sunglasses.
- Use sunscreen of SPF or higher every day. Your local pharmacy can make a recommendation.
- Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB.
- Examine your skin head to toe once a month for any changes.
These are just some of the things that you should do in order to stay sun safe and reduce your risk of Melanoma. Your local pharmacist can offer you more advice and talk you through performing a self-exam of your skin. The more awareness we have of the signs of Melanoma, the better chance we have of spotting it while it is still curable.
Your Hometown Pharmacy Since 1966
Vaughn Pharmacy is a local, family-owned pharmacy serving the community in Powell, TN. Specializing in providing personalized and attentive prescription programs to our patients, we believe you are more than just a number – you’re part of our family!