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Truths and Myths about Melanoma

Date Added: May 16, 2011 10:49:15 AM
Author: bankpoints22
Category: Health: Conditions and Diseases: Skin Disorders

Living in the Sunshine State is a beautiful thing. And although we relish in the warmth of the sun year ‘round, we must be mindful of the harmful effects of the sun’s rays on our skin. Many of you may not know about a type of skin cancer called Melanoma that can be deadly--and believe it or not, it can occur in places that the sun doesn’t shine!

Since May Is Melanoma Awareness Month, Board Certified dermatologists Dr. Marta Rendon and Dr. Chere Lucas Anthony took it upon themselves to outline the important truths and myths behind Melanoma. It’s a great opportunity to inform everyone about the skin they are in, and take every available measure to keep it safe. Test your knowledge and gain valuable insights for your health and those you love:


1. When detected early, Melanoma has an excellent cure rate.

2.The most common location for Melanoma to be found on the body in women is on the legs, and for men it is on the back.

3. A changing lesion should be examined and evaluated by a dermatologist.
One of the key educational tools used to train physicians, medical personnel and the general public on how to recognize early melanomas is the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection. The A stands for Asymmetry; (one half of the sight is unlike the other half;) The B stands for Border, (the border of the sight is irregular in shape, scalloped or poorly defined;), The C stands for Color (The color varies from one area to another and may appear in shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue;)The D stands for Diameter (the size of a pencil eraser or larger.) The American Academy of Dermatology recently added E for Evolving, referring to change in size, shape or color. 

To summarize, a dermatologist should evaluate anything you notice on your skin that is new or changing.

4. The best way to prevent Melanoma is to practice good ultraviolet light protection

5. Often, melanomas do not exhibit all the ABCDEs.
Anything that stands out as unusual should be checked. We call this the “ugly duckling” sign. This is helpful especially if you have a lot of moles and freckles. We recommend self-skin exams every couple months. In keeping with the duck theme, a familiar adage could be a life saver…”If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…In other words, check it out if you have the least bit of concern!


1. You only need to worry about the raised moles.
 False. The ABCDEs apply regardless of whether the mole is flat or raised.

2. Melanoma only happens in areas of sun exposure.
False. The soles of feet, scalp, and areas “under the bathing suit” can also develop Melanoma.

3. Tanning booths have “safe” ultraviolet light.
False. Tanning bed use before the age of 30 can increase risk of Melanoma by 75%. There is no safe UV light; both UVA and UVB are carcinogenic (Cancer causing!)

4. Young adults don’t need to be concerned.
False: Of growing concern among dermatologists is the fact that Melanoma is now the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.

5. Only fair-skinned people need to worry about Melanoma.
False. Melanoma occurs in all skin types. Because of this myth, detection is often delayed causing more morbidity and mortality in people with olive to darker skin.

We hope that we have shed some positive light on this important subject of Melanoma and that you will be diligent in checking your skin and adhering to safe sun tips.

Love and protect the skin you’re in; it’s yours for life!

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