Health & Safety

July 18, 2014

Melanoma – silent but deadly

Velvie Bennett
RN, MSN, FNP-C

Do you love having fun in the sun? If you do, it is essential you protect your skin from exposure to harmful sun rays known to cause skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 68,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma each year and another 48,000 are diagnosed with an early form of the disease that involves only the top layer of skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) melanoma causes about 8,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

People with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop skin cancer. Risk factors vary for the different types of skin cancer but here are some of the general risk factors listed by the CDC:

  • Lighter natural skin color
  • Family history or personal history of skin cancer
  • Chronic sun exposure
  • History of sunburns, especially early in life
  • History of indoor tanning, especially before age 35
  • Skin that freckles, burns, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun
  • Multiple moles (more than 60)

Sun exposure is the most modifiable risk for melanoma. Ultraviolet (UV) rays come from the sun or indoor tanning, such as using a tanning bed or booth, or sunlamp. When UV rays reach the skin’s inner layer, the skin makes more melanin.

Melanin is the pigment that colors the skin. It moves towards the outer layers of the skin and becomes visible as a tan. A tan does not indicate healthy skin or good health. Tanned skin is a response to injury, because skin cells signal they have been hurt by UV rays by producing more pigment. Although everyone’s skin can be damaged by UV exposure, people with sensitive skin and those who burn easily and tan very little are at the highest risk.

What are the signs of melanoma? Most melanomas have black or blue-black areas, but may appear as a new mole. It may be black, “ugly-looking” and abnormally shaped. The National Cancer Institute reminds us to think “ABCDE” to remember what to look for:

  • Asymmetry- the shape of one half of the suspicious mole does not match the other half.
  • Border- the edges are ragged, irregular or blurred.
  • Color- the color is uneven and may include shades of black, brown and tan.
  • Diameter- there has been a change in size, usually an increase.
  • Evolving- the mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.

Surgery is the first treatment of all stages of melanoma. Prevention, however, is the best treatment. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends to avoid/reduce exposure to direct sunlight, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and clothing that protects the body from direct sunlight. Wear sunglasses that absorb UV radiation to protect the skin around the eyes.

Apply sunscreen lotions with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, reapply every two hours, and after swimming. It is important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion that filters both UVB and UVA radiation. Perform routine skin checks to monitor for changes in your skin. If you notice a mole that is changing or is concerning you, see your primary care provider for an evaluation.

Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, but early diagnosis gives the best chance for long-term survival. If you are interested in more information on melanoma, go to the NIH website and see the online booklet “What You Need To Know About(tm) Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers” to learn about melanoma symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and questions to ask your doctor.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo by United Kingdom Ministry of Defense

Army researchers develop pocket-sized aerial surveillance device

Courtesy photo by United Kingdom Ministry of Defense A British Soldier holds a Prox Dynamics’ PD-100 Black Hornet, a palm-sized miniature helicopter weighing only 16 grams. Researchers with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Resear...
 
 

Active duty Service members must change Roth TSP contributions

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Active duty members of the Army, Air Force or Navy making dollar-amount Roth contributions to a Thrift Savings Plan account should know that these deductions will stop on Jan. 31, unless action is taken. “The Roth [Thrift Savings Plan] contributions are going from a dollar figure to a percentage of pay,” said...
 
 

THANKSGIVING DAY SAFETY MESSAGE

Thanksgiving is a day set aside to pause, reflect and give thanks for the gifts of peace, freedom and opportunity we share as Americans. Holiday weekends provide a well-earned respite from work and an opportunity for travel to visit Family and friends. However, increased travel means increased exposure to the hazards associated with heavy holiday...
 

 
Defense Commissary Agency

Commissary Value Brand returns for more savings

Defense Commissary Agency Starting in December, the Fort Huachuca Commissary will add Commissary Value Brands to its shelves. FORT LEE, Va. – In response to growing patron demand for products comparable to the low-cost privat...
 
 

FH visitors, Civilian workers can dine at Exchange facilities

At military installations across the globe, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service provides a taste of home to Soldiers, Airmen and their Families. While rules governing who can buy merchandise at exchanges often apply to a select few, anyone can dine in exchange restaurants or pick up grab-and-go fare from Express locations. The Fort...
 
 

Chapel serves up community generosity

From left, Staff Sgt. Daniel Carnaghi, 62nd Army Band; Chaplain (Lt. Col.-P) Kim Norwood, senior Garrison chaplain; his wife, Cindy Norwood; Jo Moore, Outreach Ministries coordinator; and Spc. Benjamin Sepulveda, Main Post Chapel chaplain’s assistant, prepare to distribute turkeys to Fort Huachuca Families in need Thursday at the Main Post Chapel. Thanks to generous donations...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin