Thursday, May 30, 2013

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month 2013



By Nurse Diane

My Father-in -law was self-employed.  He was one of the first in his community to write programs for the computer for companies for their billing.  He was also great in computer repairs, which was all very unusual since he had never been trained or studied any type of computer technology.  He taught himself by trying different things, and when he found something that worked, he would load his stuff in his van and go from town to town selling his ideas.   He drove an old emptied out work van, no seats or frills like air conditioning.  During the hot Mississippi Summer he would ride with his window down and his arm hanging out.   After many years of this he developed a small spot on his arm.  It was an unusual shape; it concerned him so he visited his doctor to get it checked.

He was fortunate.  He was diagnosed with a skin cancer, had it removed, the area healed, and he had no other problem.  He also started wearing long sleeved shirts or applying sunscreen when he went out in his van.

Although summer doesn't officially start until June 21, the temperatures are already soaring in some states, and hibernating people are once again outside enjoying the fresh air and fun.  This is the perfect time to remind you of the possibilities of skin cancer, and ways to prevent it.
To detect a possible Melanoma or skin cancer, there is a checklist that follows the abc's.
A:  Asymmetry, where half of the spot is different from the other half
B:  Border, where the mole is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.
C:  Color, where the mole has different shades of tan, brown, black, and sometimes white, red or blue.
D:  Diameter, where the mole is larger than the size of a pencil eraser
E:  Evolving, or changing in size or shape.

More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually in more than 2 million people. There are simple measures you can take to prevent getting skin cancer.  Staying out of the sun, wearing protective clothing if you are out, and use sun screen all the time you are outside.  If you do notice a spot or mole pop up, get it checked by your doctor right away; early detection is the key for a quick recovery.  So have a great summer, but stay safe too!
(Images from Google) 

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