After a brutal few days here on Long Island the temperature and humidity are at more comfortable levels. It’s a great day to be outside. Get out and take a walk, ride a bike, or if you’ve had a long week just lounge in the shade with a glass of iced tea or lemonade.
Before you head outside you must be aware of the damage that the sun can do to your skin. According to a new survey Healthday reports that “Melanoma is a big threat to older men. Older men have an increased risk of developing melanoma, but most are careless about sun protection and do not know how to properly check themselves for signs of skin cancer.”
This survey demonstrates that many men do not protect themselves from the sun when outdoors and that some still believe that sun exposure is good for their health.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color or feel of a mole. Most melanomas have a black or black-blue area. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be black, abnormal or “ugly looking.”
Thinking of “ABCD” can help you remember what to watch for:
- Asymmetry – the shape of one half does not match the other
- Border – the edges are ragged, blurred or irregular
- Color – the color in uneven and may include shades of black, brown and tan
- Diameter – there is a change in size, usually an increase
Melanoma can be cured if it is diagnosed and treated early. If melanoma is not removed in its early stages, cancer cells may grow downward from the skin surface and invade healthy tissue. If it spreads to other parts of the body it can be difficult to control.
Find out more about melanoma from MedlinePlus.
To find out how to keep your skin safe read my post “Being Safe in the Sun.”
posted by – Susan, Health Reference Services