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SACL Melanoma Prevention

Information and suggestions

·        Research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop melanoma. A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease. Still many who do get this disease have no risk factors.

·        Many (more than 50) ordinary moles. Having many moles increases the risk of developing melanoma.

·        Severe, blistering sunburns; people who have had at least one severe, blistering sunburn as a child or teenager are at risk of melanoma. Because of this, doctors advise that parents protect children’s skin from the sun. Such protection may reduce the risk of melanoma later in life; sunburns in adulthood are also a risk factor for melanoma.

·        Ultra Violet (UV) radiation – Experts believe that much of the worldwide increase in melanoma is related to an increase in the amount of time people spend in the sun, the disease is also more common in people who live in area that get large amounts of UV radiation from the sun. In the United States for example, melanoma is more common in Texas than In Minnesota, where the sun is not as strong. (In Oregon the reported rate of melanoma was 23% higher than the National Average). UV radiation from the sun causes premature aging of the skin and skin damage that can lead to Melanoma. Artificial sources of UV radiation such as sun lamps and tanning booths also can cause skin damage and increase the risk of melanoma. Doctors encourage people to limit their exposure to Natural UV radiation and to avoid artificial sources.

Prevention

The good news about pediatric melanoma and adult melanoma (malignant melanoma is the most serious and potentially fatal form of skin cancer), is that they are preventable.

The bad news is that a severe sunburn in childhood can

develop into melanoma within a couple years- or it can wait

40 years or more. So prevention MUST start in childhood.

Prevention” includes:

 

1.   Education about skin cancer, skin hydration and skin health, and the dangers of excessive exposure to solar radiation (See “Education”).

 

2.   Avoiding solar exposure EVERY time you go into bright sunlight. This can be achieved though protective clothing and application of sunscreen.

3.   Keeping your skin and body healthy and well hydrated by drinking plenty of water (at least 64 ounces per day for the average adult and more if you are an athlete, a senior citizen or taking medications such as HCTZ), and by moisturizing your skin with a pure water mist, followed by a moisture sealing lotion.

4.   These prevention measures are especially important for children.

This page will post particularly helpful articles that come to our attention, regarding melanoma prevention, sunburn prevention and personal hydration.

Education

Malignant melanoma is the most serious and potentially fatal

form of skin cancer. Not only are children susceptible, many

adult cases have their origins in a severe sunburn in childhood.

To combat both pediatric and adult melanoma, education is

necessary, combined with prevention measures and research.

A priority of the Save A Child’s Life Foundation is the sponsoring

and conducting of programs through the children’s charities it

helps support, to educate parents, children, doctors and the

general public about melanoma recognition, prevention and

treatment.

Things you should know about pediatric melanoma:

1.   The typical mole-like melanoma growth is larger than a pencil eraser, has an uneven or irregular edge (rather then being round or oval) and may have more than one color (often black rather than brown, with a red edge).

 

2.   Malignant melanoma is one of three types of skin cancer. The other two, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, do not spread throughout the body (metasticize) and are therefore not fatal. Melanoma CAN spread throughout the body and organs, and can be fatal (Note: Although not fatal, basal and squamous cell growths should be removed promptly because they “eat” normal tissue which does not return when the growth is removed.

3.   If caught early, the survival rate for malignant melanoma is extremely high for both adults and children. However, the death rate in children diagnosed with the disease is higher than the rate for adults.

This page will post particularly helpful articles that come to our attention, regarding melanoma education and recognition, personal hydration and the harmful effects radiation.

*Information source is from National Cancer Institute.

Randy Kieling