It’s May and it’s Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. The American Academy of Dermatology launches “Who’s Got Your Back” campaign this year to highlight the importance of applying sunscreen at the back, it being the most common location for Melanoma. But what makes this observance significant?
Melanoma News Today writes that, “Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, in which cells within skin moles become malignant (usually due to ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds), with the potential to quickly spread to other parts of the body if not treated.” American Cancer Society, on the other hand, reported that melanoma accounts “for more than 73,000 cases of skin cancer in 2015” and “for nearly 10,000 of the more than 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year”. However, the good thing is that it is curable when diagnosed in its early stages. This is when increased skin cancer awareness, which is among the goals of the Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, becomes important.
The May 2015 Toolkit of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that everyone – including you – can take this month as an opportunity “to raise awareness about skin cancer and help people take action to prevent or detect it – both at home and in the larger community”. To do this, you can start by informing each of your family members to adopt habits that are good for the skin, such as applying sunscreen before going out and reminding them to avoid direct exposure from the sun. You can also research about UV radiation and the harm that goes with it.
You can also take a step further by coordinating with the leaders in your community and encouraging them to hold a seminar with a goal to increase skin cancer consciousness. You can also talk with a local hospital or any organization in your area to have skin cancer screening event.
For your own good, Skincancer.org offers reminders to reduce threat of skin cancer:
- Make an effort to check your skin regularly – from head to toe and from front to back. This can contribute in early detection of warning signs of the disease. You should also visit your dermatologist to undergo annual skin exam.
- Avoid being burned. You increase your risk to skin disease if you have suffered from sunburns five or more times.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Apply this half an hour before you are expected to go outside. In case you are swimming, make sure that you reapply after every two hours.
- As much as possible, stay in roofed or shaded areas, which can offer complete UV protection.
- It will also help a lot if you wear clothes that cover most of your skin and sunglasses and hats.
May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Beginning this month, you should make sure that you do your part to support skin cancer awareness campaigns and perform the necessary steps to help you and the rest of your family members avoid this disease