05 May 2014 02:24:56 MDT Written by: Administrator
In 1995, the American Academy of Dermatology established the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday to raise awareness about this potentially fatal type of skin cancer and to encourage Americans to practice sun-safe behaviors and examine their skin for suspicious moles and lesions.
When examining your skin for changes or growths, the American Academy of Dermatology says there are "ABCD" warning signs to be aware of:
In general, any unusual change in the skin, especially a new growth or sore that doesn't heal, can be a warning sign of skin cancer, and should be checked promptly by your physician. Any growth of a mole should be of concern too. When caught early, your chances for successful treatment are much higher.
Who's at risk
Since sun exposure is most commonly linked to skin cancer, people who have a history of frequent sun exposure as well as sunburns are at a higher risk of the disease. NCI says fair skinned individuals, especially if they have blond or red hair and blue eyes are more at risk, as are people with a family history of skin cancer.
Since the effects of sun exposure add up, the National Institute on Aging says our risk of developing skin cancer also increases as we get older. And people with a large number of moles can have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Anyone in a high-risk group should take extra precautions against skin cancer and talk with their doctor about regular screenings.
Read more about Skin Cancer in our Health Library