May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it just so happens that the first Monday in May is known as Melanoma Monday. Melanoma is the most serious and the most lethal form of skin cancer. Skin Cancer is the most preventable form of cancer with some pretty simple safety measures in place.
Last week as I was sitting in the over 37,000 seats at Albertson's Stadium for our Rise UP Against Child Abuse, I got scorched by the sun. It happened so fast, I really didn't even notice until the day was winding down. It was pretty funny and shocking as my skin got pretty crispy in just hours. Despite all the warnings I had no idea it could hit me so fast.
Most cancers develop and grow inside the body which makes them tricky and sometimes impossible to catch early. Skin Cancer is different there. It's completely visible to the eye. And like any other form early detection can save lives.
Locally, the Idaho Skin Surgery Center will be offering a free skin cancer screening clinic on the second Tuesday in May (the 11th) from 5-7 PM. Call ahead and make an appointment, to be given priority especially during COVID and precautions taken, but walk-ins are welcome. The screening is absolutely free so why not take advantage of the peace of mind and early detection. Share this with friends and family. You never know.
Some things we can do:
  • Examine our own skin once a month for changes or spots that may be new, growing, or changing in shape and color.
  • See a dermatologist for a full-body skin exam at least once a year.
  • Wear sunscreen (note to self)
  • Wear a hat.
  • Find shade whenever possible on really hot days.
Keep in mind that most moles and spots on our skin are non-cancerous or harmless. The best advice from SkinCancer.org is to follow the ABCDEs of Melanoma. This is a simple guide to watch for:
A- Asymmetry: meaning that the two halves of a mole or spot are not symmetrical or do not match.
B- Border: The borders of the spot or mole may be ridged or uneven, not smooth.
C- Color: Melanoma may be different shades of brown, tan, or even black. Red, white or blue may even appear as cancer grows.
D- Diameter or Dark: It is a warning sign if a mole or lesion is larger than the size of a pencil eraser at the end of a pencil OR much darker than others.
E- Evolving: Look for ANY change in size, color, shape, or elevation of a spot on the skin or any new symptom such as bleeding or crusting of a spot on the skin.
If you notice any change to these ABCDEs, see a dermatologist. Better safe than sorry and It's getting warmer. We all know that the summer sun in Idaho is powerful. Get out there and have fun but be safe!