Did you know?:
- A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns
- The overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early (before the tumor has spread to lymph nodes or other organs) is about 98%. The survival rate falls to 63% when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 16% when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.
- Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%.
- Survivors of melanoma are about nine times as likely as the general population to develop a new melanoma.
All statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation
Doing skin checks regularly at home is essential to the early detection and treatment of skin cancers. Here is a resource from the Skin Cancer Foundation illustrating how to do a proper monthly skin exam: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/step-by-step-self-examination.
Don’t forget your ABCDEs: asymmetry, irregular borders, multiple colors, diameter greater than 6mm (end of a pencil eraser) and evolution – meaning changing, growing, itching, or bleeding.
If you ever have a skin lesion you are worried about, take a picture of it and get it checked out by a doctor.
This health tip brought to you by Dr. Kristina Roberts, a board certified naturopathic doctor practicing integrative and individualized primary care medicine at Lokahi Health Center in Kona. For more information, call 808-329-2114 or email [email protected].