In advance of Melanoma Monday, which occurred on May 6, Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery (ADCS) has launched an awareness campaign recommending yearly Total-Body Skin Cancer Exams for early detection of skin cancer.

The deadliest form of skin cancer – melanoma – is very treatable if detected early. But the survival rate drops from 99% with early detection to just 15% when the melanoma is discovered at a more advanced stage, ADCS dermatologists note in a media release.

“Very simply, Total-Body Skin Cancer Exams save lives,” says Dr Matt Leavitt, its founder and chief executive officer. “By examining the entire body, a dermatologist can identify potential cancer in places a patient may not be able to easily see. If we can detect melanoma early, patients can dramatically increase their chance of survival.”

More than 192,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma in 2019, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation. With this in mind, the American Academy of Dermatology designated Monday, May 6, as “Melanoma Monday,” in advance of the upcoming summer season.

“Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body – scalp, nails, feet, mouth, even the eyes,” Leavitt adds. “A common misconception is that melanoma only occurs on skin that has had extensive sun exposure. That is not true. An annual Total-Body Skin Cancer Exam gives a patient a fighting chance.”

The factors that put people at high risk for skin cancer include a history of sunburns with blisters at any point in life, spending significant time outdoors for work or recreation, or having light-colored hair and fair skin. People over 50 years old are also at higher risk, and men are more likely than women to get the disease.

Nearly 90% of melanoma cases are blamed on exposure to the sun. Experts say it takes only one bad sunburn to double a person’s chance of getting melanoma, the release explains.

To protect your skin and your health, Advanced Dermatology recommends the following, according to the release:

  • Do not use tanning beds. Indoor tanning beds are harmful to your skin and may cause cancer, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation. Young people using tanning beds are 8 times more likely to develop melanoma.
  • Moles or growths that change, itch or bleed could be early warning signs of melanoma. Get them checked as soon as possible by a certified dermatologist.
  • Daily sunscreen use. Sunscreen could significantly reduce the incidence of melanoma.
  • Seek shade when possible, cover up with clothing and wear sunglasses and wide brim hats when in the sun.

[Source(s): Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, Business Wire]