Do You Know Melanoma Skin Cancer is on the Rise?

Summertime is spending more time in the sun time – and how we look forward to that warmth all year long.

With more time spent in the sun, there’s also an increased risk of melanoma skin cancer.

It’s time to check yourself.

DO IT!

Do You Know Melanoma Skin Cancer is on the Rise?

Melanoma is on the rise.

This is a scary cancer (aren’t they all?), as it can be tough to treat. Don’t mess around if you think you see changes in a mole or on your skin.

The Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society sites are good places to start your education about all things melanoma.

It’s fitting that May is Melanoma Awareness Month because it’s the beginning of warmer summer temps and lighter clothing.

Summertime means taking precautions against sunburns and routinely wearing sunscreen (for those of you who don’t already).

OMT FACT: I’m a melanoma survivor.

I’m fair-skinned, blonde, and blue-eyed: the perfect candidate. I also live in a Southern state where the sun shines the majority of the year and I spent my youth happily and ignorantly getting sunburned.

Little did I know that my carefree days in the sun and my inability to tan, set me up for the perfect skin cancer storm.

Before I was diagnosed, I was already seeing a dermatologist yearly, as was my son and husband. She was and still is a trusted doctor whom I credit with saving my life.

I had noticed a small mole that had changed ever so slightly, but not enough for me to move up my yearly exam.

When I did see her, we discussed that I thought the mole had changed somewhat, but upon visual inspection it looked fine to both of us.

It didn’t fall in the regular category for irregularity or color markers that usually distinguish melanoma.

We weren’t worried. Although, she advised that she wanted to biopsy it “just to be safe.”

I’m forever in her debt that she insisted on that biopsy, because when it came back, I tested positive for Stage 1 Melanoma.

She called me with the news while I was in the middle of cleaning a toilet and asked me to sit down. I still had my yellow cleaning gloves on and the toilet brush in my hand; I’ll never forget that moment.

My life changed dramatically in the few minutes, as she explained to me what was next.

Back in ’99, there were no drugs, or chemo, to treat melanoma, not in the traditional ways of thinking about chemo. Your best option was surgery, then wait it out.

I was furious when I learned that fact. I’m a proactive kinda gal and I wanted to blast the cancer from my body. Nope. No chemo and no radiation. Just wait and see. It was torture, especially since I had a young family.

Yet, I was one of the amazingly lucky ones: my cancer hadn’t spread.

The game plan was to cut that mofo out (and I wanted it out IMMEDIATELY) then monitor me for the next five years.

That was in 1999, 19 years ago in August, and I’ve been melanoma free since, thanks be to God.

Not all melanomas are caused by the sun, but a large majority are, and that includes tanning beds which mimic the sun’s rays.

You should do a self-check once a month.

If I hadn’t been diligent in doing self-checks, I might have missed pointing out the mole to my doc.

If you see anything that has changed, even in the smallest way, get thee to a dermatologist.

Also, wear sunscreen. Come on. It’s the easiest thing you can do for prevention and many sunscreens can be light and undetectable.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

(Melanoma Skin Cancer infographic by MountSinaiNYC.)

Be safe out there, my babies and share this important post.

I thank you and your dermatologist thanks you.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All that summertime talk make ya hungry? THIS

Please Share on Your Favorite Social Media! ~ OMT thanks you! ~

Comments

  1. My husband and I lost a 40 year old nieice in law to melanoma this past winter. She had a rare mucosal type that is very difficult to diagnose before symptoms occur, and she was stage 4 before it was discovered. She was dark eyed and had dark hair, so even people that aren’t fair can get melanoma. There are many clinical trials in progress now that will hopefully be helping to combat melanoma in addition to surgery. As you said, wearing sun block, doing self-check and going to a dermatologist for yearly skin checks is a good defense. I’m so gald you had a good outcome, Mrs Tucker!

    • You make a great point: Anyone can get melanoma. It’s a good idea for everyone to get a yearly check.

      I’m so sorry for you loss, and am hopeful the research catches up to the need.

  2. Thank you for this important reminder. My younger sister is also a melanoma survivor. I am diligent about my annual mole checks with the doctor, but not so diligent about monthly self-checks.

  3. Thank you for this great content. But I noticed my 2 sons already have a tan, we have gone nowhere, its just from playing outside. I don’t usually stick the factor 50 suncream on them until we hit about 19 degrees. What would be the average temperature someone
    should apply sun lotion?

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