"Melanoma Monday" - Check Yourself, Check Your Partner

by GregP_WN

May is designated as National Melanoma Month. Included in that designation is National Melanoma Monday, which is the first Monday in May. The American Academy of Dermatology has set aside this day to raise awareness about skin cancer.

Melanoma Monday

People who are unaware of the dangers of skin cancer will often say things like, "at least it's just skin cancer", or "that's one of the good kinds of cancer, right"? They are not aware that on average, one person dies every hour from melanoma, or that early 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, or that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. And most of them do not know that melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that can metastasize to other parts of the body if not caught early.

The American Academy of Dermatology has taken the lead in promoting skin cancer awareness through several awareness programs. Their 2017 SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign — “Check Your Partner. Check Yourself” — is encouraging women to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer. When detected early, skin cancer — including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer — is highly treatable. Research has shown that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others, which means women could help save their partners' lives by helping them spot skin cancer. This is especially important for men over 50 as they have an increased risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population.

Check Your Partner Banner

According to the AAD website, The American Academy of Dermatology’s 2017 SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign“Check Your Partner. Check Yourself” — is encouraging women to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer. When detected early, skin cancer — including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer — is highly treatable. Research has shown that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others, which means women could help save their partners' lives by helping them spot skin cancer. This is especially important for men over 50 as they have an increased risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population.

Melanoma Abc's

If you notice any suspicious spots on your skin or your partner's skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding, see a board-certified dermatologist. Click this link for a tool to find a board-certified dermatologist, and where free skin cancer screenings are being held. 

The American Academy of Dermatology also has produced a video that uses humor to show how men and women sometimes see things a little differently, or as my Wife tells me when I can't find something, "you're looking like a man"!

Seven Skin Cancer Warning Signs Not to Ignore

1)  When you notice a mole that is obviously different from the others. 

Everyone should be aware of all the moles and spots on your body, where they are, the size, color and shape of them. Be aware when a new mole shows up and especially if it is different from the others. If anything stands out or you have doubts, get it checked by a Dermitologist.

2) Dark Streaks in Your Nails

While it's not as common as other forms of melanoma, melanoma of the nails can spread to other organs and go undetected. It can show up as long vertical streaks or just a spot that looks like a blood blister. These things should be checked if they are unexplained. 

3) The second most common type of melanoma is melanoma of the eye, according to Dr. Sapna Patel, a melanoma oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "Just like you’d have a mole on your skin, a spot can appear in the back of the eye. Doctors will only discover it when you get your pupils dilated during an eye exam."

"Less than half of patients will actually have symptoms" , Patel said. "If you do have them, they may show up as blurry vision, floaters, a growing dark spot on the iris, and other issues."

4) If You Have a Pimple That Won't Go Away 

Basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer can look like a zit that doesn’t clear up after a few weeks, a sore that won’t heal or a scab that keeps recurring. The “pimple” also may go away and come right back in the same spot, and it won’t have pus when you squeeze it.

5) If You Notice a Mole on the Bottom of Your Foot

A lot of people will have spots on the soles of their feet or palms of their hands, but they should be checked out if they are new or if they are changing.

6) If You See Changes After Having a Mole Removed

If you have had a mole removed and you have additional spots or discoloration near the spot, or if you develop a lump or bump near the scar, this needs to be checked. 

7) A Black Spot Inside Your Mouth

A spot that you don't usually expect for skin cancer to develop, inside the mouth, nasal cavity, anal and groin region are spots that can lead to melanoma, not caused by the sun. Mucous membranes are usually checked during routine Doctor's visits. 

Other Melanoma Resources

The American Cancer Society has a great page with lots of helpful information on skin cancer and melanoma. Also, watch the video below for tips on melanoma risk factors.

Skin Cancer and Melanoma Treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center

Progress In The Fight Against Melanoma at The Cleveland Clinic

Living With Melanoma, Skin Cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma - WhatNext

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The purpose of Melanoma Monday is to raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma. Hopefully, you will take away from this article the urgency associated with checking yourself and checking your partner for new, changing, or suspicious looking spots. If you have questions or need advice melanoma treatments or experiences, drop in and ask the WhatNext Community, there are always people willing to help. 

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