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This is the annual Pink Flamingo May is Melanoma Month post. The Pink Flamingo is an 18 year survivor of melanoma. Regular readers know I periodically go off onto one of my rants and raves about Melanoma, which is one of the deadliest cancers there is. It is also one of the most easily curable.

If you have a mole that looks like one of these, and you do not go to a board certified dermatologist and have it removed with a proper excision where the mole is CUT out, and at least a quarter of an inch of tissue is removed all around it YOU WILL DIE.

Melanoma is one of the deadliest of cancers. It is also one of the most curable – if you catch it early – the way I did.

Do you know the ABC’s of Melanoma?

A– Asymmetry, One half unlike the other half .

B– Border Irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C-Color, Varied from one area to another: shades of tan and brown , black: sometimes white, red or blue.

D– Diameter, While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter(the size of an eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole that is different from others, or which changes, itches or bleeds (even if it is small) you should see a dermatologist.

E– Evolve, If you see your mole changes in any way over a period of time contact a dermatologist.

Other Warning Signs:
• The appearance of a new bump or nodule
• Color spreads into surrounding skin
• redness or swelling beyond the mole
• pain
• tenderness
• itching
• bleeding
• oozing
• scaly appearance

How do you stop melanoma?

“…The first sign of melanoma is often a change in the size, shape, or color of a mole. But melanoma can also appear on the body as a new mole.

  • In men, melanoma most often shows up:on the upper body, between the shoulders and hips on the head and neck
  • In women, melanoma often develops on the lower legs.
  • In dark-skinned people, melanoma often appears:under the fingernails or toenails on the palms of the hands on the soles of the feet…”

You learn the warning signs.

You have a six months skin check-up – every six months of your life – without fail.

Are you at risk:

  • “…1. Has anyone in your family ever had melanoma?
  • 2. Do you now have, or have you ever had, non-cancerous, but unusual looking moles?
  • 3. Have you been diagnosed with melanoma in the past?
  • 4. Are you taking any medications that might weaken your immune system (for example, corticosteroids)?
  • 5. Do you have more than 50 ordinary moles?
  • 6. Did you have one or more severe, blistering sunburns as a child or teenager?
  • 7. Do you have many freckles?
  • 8. Do you have fair skin and light eyes?
  • 9. Do you live in the Southwestern United States?
  • 10. Do you frequently spend time in the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM without skin protection?…”

All you need to do is catch it in time.

If you don’t catch melanoma in time, or have an improper diagnosis, you are dead.

You are dead.

It can be hereditary.

If you have red or blond hair, along with blue or green eyes, and very fair skin, yikes!

If you are Black, keep an eye on moles under your fingernails. There is a huge bigotry of diagnosis – only fair skinned white people get melanoma – right? Wrong. Watch those fingernails.

Skin Cancer.Org

The simplest way to catch it in time is to have a full body check-up every six months. Any suspicious nevis should be removed and have a full path report.

Are you at risk? Take the test.

Do you have a nevis (mole) that looks like this – the ones on the right? If so, and you do not get help, immediately, YOU WILL DIE.

Other Warning Signs:
• The appearance of a new bump or nodule
• Color spreads into surrounding skin
• redness or swelling beyond the mole
• pain
• tenderness
• itching
• bleeding
• oozing
• scaly appearance

What do you do if you have one that looks like the bottom right – Mine was an inch in diameter, with a lovely multi color.

Melanoma.com

NOTE:

So far, I’m one of the lucky ones. The odds are that I will have a second primary during my life-time.  Ever possible mole that could go bad has been removed, properly.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO SUNSCREEN  FYI:  There have been no new developments in sunscreens in many years.

  • “..Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 3.5 million skin cancers, including 75,000 new cases of invasive melanoma, are diagnosed in the United States annually. Nearly 10,000 people will not survive melanoma in 2013.
  • The American people need access to safe and effective broad-spectrum, photostable UV screens to protect themselves against the harmful effects of the sun.  

Did You Know the Risk of Skin Cancer in the United States?

  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.
  • From 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • One person dies every hour from melanoma, totaling nearly 10,000 deaths in 2013.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • Just one bad burn in childhood increases the risk of developing melanoma later in life.
  • Melanoma is the number one cancer killer of women in their twenties.
  • Skin cancer is most deadly for African Americans, Asians and Latinos.
  • Did You Know the Financial Cost of Skin Cancer in the United States?
  • The estimated total direct cost associated with the treatment of melanoma in 2010 was $2.36 billion in the United States.

The emotional and physical costs are impossible to calculate.

  • A 2012 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that “Given the substantial costs of treating melanoma, public health strategies should include efforts to enhance both primary prevention (reduction of ultraviolet light exposure) and secondary prevention (earlier detection) of melanoma.”
  • Did You Know No New Sunscreen Ingredients Have Been Approved in the United States in Over a Decade?
  • The last time the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new sunscreen ingredient was in the 1990s.
  • Outside of the United States, the next generation of photostable, broad-spectrum sunscreens that offer UVA and UVB protection have been approved for use.
  • Since 2002, there have been eight pending sunscreen ingredient applications that are still waiting approval from the FDA….”

 

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