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.


 
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

Annual Installation Awards Banquet honors top personnel

Natalie Lakosil From left, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca stands with Fort Huachuca’s 2014 winners: Non-commissioned Officer of the Year, Sgt. Brya...
 
 

2015 Army Emergency Relief Annual Campaign

Since its founding during World War ll, Army Emergency Relief (AER) has provided $1.7 billion in interest-free loans and grants to 3.6 million Soldiers in the active component, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve and among the ranks of the retired. AER financial assistance provides timely care and support to Wounded Warriors, Surviving Spouses...
 
 
Stephanie Caffall

Uncasing ceremony formally welcomes 40th ESB Soldiers home

Stephanie Caffall 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. John Reinburg, left, and Battalion Commander Lt. Col. David Thomas begin the uncasing of the battalion colors. The colors signify the homecoming of the 40t...
 

 
Courtesy of André Douglas

Civilian Expeditionary Workforce offers unique development opportunity to IMCOM employee

Courtesy of André Douglas The Bagram Air Base installation management team — made up of active duty Service members, civilian employees and contractors — pauses for a commemorative photo. SAN ANTONIO — Joining the Civili...
 
 

FH schools to celebrate National Bike to School Day March 06

Students from Colonel Johnston, General Myer and Colonel Smith Middle Schools will be riding or walking to school on March 6 along with parents, teachers and community leaders. The event will begin from 7 to 8:30 a.m. with youth, parents and community leaders riding or walking from parking lot locations listed below or from home....
 
 

CWFC designed to improve employee morale

There’s an organization on post designed to enhance the quality of life for Fort Huachuca federal Civilian employees during and outside of duty hours. The Civilian Welfare Fund Council, or CWFC, Fort Huachuca, is a Category IV Non-appropriated Fund Instrumentality with proceeds from concessionaire commissions. Its purpose is to manage the Civilian Welfare Funds, or...
 




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