Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases in 2 million people are diagnosed annually. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. Melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of skin cancer cases, but it causes more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. The number of new cases of melanoma in the United States has been increasing for at least 30 years.
To protect yourself, protect your skin, know the risk factors, and become familiar with the signs of this common disease.
Follow the ABCDE Rules
Look for moles that are:
- With irregular Borders
- Varied or unusual Colors
Some cancerous moles can look red or even blue.
- Large in Diameter
Particularly ones that are bigger than a pencil eraser
With regular skin checks, you should become familiar with how your moles look. If one is changing, tell your doctor.
Finally, take extra precautions if you are fair-skinned, have red or blond hair, have many moles (more than 50), or have a family history of skin cancer. Wear a hat while in the sun, and consider extra clothing as well. Look for specially marked clothing with a UPF rating above 35, because the UPF rating indicates that the clothing blocks both UVB and UVA, two forms of cancer-causing radiation.