From the Parish Nurse – Melanoma

Now that spring is just around the corner, we will be spending much more time outside in the sun. The main risk factor for skin cancer is ultraviolet light which can come from sunlight or tanning beds.

There are several kinds of skin cancer: Basal Cell – the most common; Squamous Cell – the second most common; and Melanoma – the least common but most aggressive and dangerous so we will dwell on that skin cancer.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Anyone can get Melanoma, but some people have a higher risk, including those with:

  1. Family history of melanoma (father, mother, sister, brother).
  2. History of a blistering sunburn as a child.
  3. Skin that burns rather than tans.
  4. Moles larger than a pencil eraser. It is unusual for children to get melanoma, but it can happen.

To check and see if you have any abnormal spots – check to see if one half of the mole is different from the other half, if the border is irregular, if the mole has different shades of color, if it is larger than a pencil eraser, and of the mole is changing size, shape or color. Always see your doctor if you are worried about it.

To avoid the risk of developing melanoma is to avoid exposure to UV light. If melanoma is discovered early is can usually be cured by surgery.

“It is nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

Jean Peikert, RN

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