Most people who develop skin cancer receive successful treatment, especially if the disease is caught early on. But one type of skin cancer can be deadly: melanoma. If melanoma isn’t caught in time, it can be fatal.
Our board-certified dermatologists at Seacoast Dermatology are skin cancer experts. When we check your skin, we look for any sign of cancer. If you have a precancerous spot or cancer, we arrange prompt treatment. Early detection is the key to treatment without complications.
If you’re a woman, pay particular attention to recent statistics. Women under 50 now have a higher probability of getting melanoma than any other cancer aside from breast or thyroid cancer.
In this month’s blog post, we explore why that may be the case. Knowing the risk factors for melanoma helps you take preventive steps to protect yourself.
Do you have fair skin, blonde or red hair, and blue eyes? If your skin is fair and you tend to burn rather than tan, you’re more at risk than someone with darker skin.
Do you love the sun? If you have a job that requires working in the midday sun, or if you’ve spent hours at the beach or pool over the years, you may be at risk not only for basal cell or squamous cell cancer but also melanoma. Ultraviolet B radiation is a known carcinogen.
Researchers now think that UVA radiation may contribute to melanoma as well. Research shows that a majority of melanoma cases are due to radiation from sun exposure.
Indoor tanning beds
Researchers say that indoor tanning beds may be causing an increase in melanoma in young women. Melanoma has increased over 6% annually in Caucasian women under 44. In women aged 15-29, melanoma is increasing faster than in males in the same age group.
If you have more than your share of moles or have large moles, get regular skin checks. You’re more at risk of melanoma than others with few moles.
Genes play a role in about 10% of melanoma cases. If you have a close family member who’s had melanoma, your risk is two to three times higher than those without a family history of melanoma.
All of these risk factors for melanoma are good reasons to make and keep your annual skin health checkup. Don’t wait for your annual appointment if you see a change in a mole or a spot on your skin that is rough, itchy, discolored, or doesn’t heal.
Contact one of our convenient offices in Portsmouth, Dover, or Exeter, New Hampshire, to make an appointment.