Melanoma: What You Need To Know

While summer may be a few months way, it is never too early to become familiar with the signs of skin cancer and how to protect your skin throughout the summer months. When it comes to surviving, early detection is essential as is making an appointment with a local dermatologist. Read on to learn more about melanoma and what you need to know as you head into the summer season.

What Is Melanoma Exactly?

Melanoma is considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Generally, this particular type of skin cancer is caused by the UV rays from the sun, but it can also be caused from tanning beds that tend to penetrate the ultraviolet radiation into your skin. In some instances, cancer cells may develop from discoloration on the skin or a mole. Luckily, when melanoma is detected early on, it can be completely treated and even removed from the skin.

How to Look for Melanoma

Any time that you notice a mole that has changed on your body or a dark spot on your skin, there is a good chance that it may be melanoma. If you notice that the spot is asymmetrical—which means that both sides of the spot do not match—or that the spot has bumpy borders, then it is important to make an appointment with a dermatologist to have it checked out. In addition, melanoma can be distinguished by various dark shades (think brown and black); therefore, discoloration is always a sign of potential skin cancer. So, if you notice that a spot on your skin is changing in any way, it needs to be thoroughly checked out by a professional.

How You Can Protect Your Skin During the Summer

It is important that you take preventative measures when out in the sun to protect your skin from becoming damaged by the sun and developing skin cancer. To help keep your skin safe, you can start by wearing hats, staying under umbrellas, and wearing a sunscreen of SPF 50 or more. You can also avoid using tanning beds or any kind of oils that will attract additional ultraviolet rays from the sun. In addition, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for annual skin checks, particularly if you have several moles, are fair skinned, or have a family history of skin cancer. This is the best way for skin changes to be monitored and skin cancer to be detected early on.

Whether you simply need to schedule that annual check-up or you are concerned about a spot on your body, contact a melanoma cancer service in your area today.