Get Ready for Summer With These Tips on How to Protect Your Skin From Melanoma Risk

Here’s what Indiana residents need to know about melanoma and how to protect their skin while still enjoying all that summer has to offer.

Many Hoosiers look forward to summer for its warmer weather, longer days, and sunny skies. Basking in the sunlight can feel relaxing, but it can also increase your risk of certain cancers if you get too much.

Here’s what Indiana residents need to know about melanoma and how to protect their skin while still enjoying all that summer has to offer.

What is Melanoma?

Currently, one in every five deaths in the US resulted from cancer, making cancer the second leading cause of death in the US overall after heart disease. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Melanoma is one type of skin cancer. Rates of melanoma have been increasing in the US since the late 1990s. In 2019 alone, over 91,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in US residents.

Melanoma ranks in the top ten types of new cancer cases in the United States in 2020. It is considered one of the more dangerous types of skin cancer because it can appear quickly and can spread anywhere in the body. Melanoma treatment has a higher rate of success if the melanoma is identified early before it has had much chance to grow or spread.

Melanoma Risk Factors

While anyone can develop melanoma, some people are at a higher risk than others. Risk factors that can increase your chances of developing melanoma include:

  • Natural coloring. People with fair skin, especially those with blond or red hair and blue or green eyes, are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than people with darker skin, hair, or eyes. While you cannot change the coloring you were born with, you can take extra steps to protect yourself when you know your coloring places you at a higher risk.
  • Genetic factors. A recent Indiana University study found eight different locations on the human genome that can indicate a higher risk of developing skin cancers. Like your coloring, you can’t change your genetic profile, but you can use this information to encourage greater steps to protect yourself.
  • High sun exposure. People who work outdoors or spend a great deal of time in the sun are at a higher risk of developing melanoma. Invest in sun protection, like sunscreen and UPF-factor clothing, to reduce the effects of the sun’s rays on your skin.

People who don’t use sun protection are at a higher risk of melanoma, regardless of their skin type or coloring. This makes sunscreen and protective clothing the best way for all Hoosiers to combat melanoma risk.

How to Protect Your Skin and Reduce Your Melanoma Risk

Whether you are in a high-risk group for melanoma or not, you can take steps to reduce the chances of developing this aggressive form of cancer.

  • Know your skin. Only about 30 percent of melanomas begin in existing moles. About 70 percent of all melanomas start in normal skin. Paying close attention to your skin and noting any changes quickly can help you ensure you have suspicious changes checked.
  • Practice your ABCDEs. The American Academy of Dermatology has an “ABCDE” memory tool you can use to tell if a change in your skin needs more attention.
    • Asymmetry: Half of the suspect spot doesn’t match the other half.
    • Border: The edges of the spot aren’t smooth.
    • Color: Color is uneven and may contain shades of brown, black, gray, red, or white.
    • Diameter: The spot is larger than a pencil eraser.
    • Evolving: The spot is new or has changed shape, size, or color.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. The best tools for reducing melanoma risk are inexpensive or even free. They include wearing sunblock daily, even when the weather is cloudy. Clothing, including rashguards and other items with built-in SPF, can also form an important barrier between you and the sun. Hats are especially helpful for protecting the delicate skin on the face and neck. And staying indoors when the sun is particularly intense can help as well,

Checking your skin regularly can help you spot melanoma quickly. When treated soon after its appearance, melanoma has a 99 percent treatment success rate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Melanoma spreads quickly once it appears, however, so it’s important to reduce the risk of its appearance and to speak to a doctor quickly if you have concerns.

A delay in the diagnosis of melanoma can allow the cancer to spread to other parts of the body leading to serious medical issues and even death. When a doctor does not accurately diagnose a growth that turns out to be melanoma, the doctor may be responsible for the expenses of medical care, pain and suffering and lost income. If a delay in diagnosis causes the death of a patient, the patient’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death case.

At Tabor Law Firm, the attorneys understand what is involved in bringing a successful medical malpractice case for a delay in diagnosis of melanoma. If you believe that you or a loved one have a medical malpractice case for a delay in diagnosis of melanoma, our attorneys will review your case for free. We will explain the process, obtain the necessary records, consult with experts, and talk to you about your legal options.


Related Blog