May Is Melanoma Awareness Month

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. Melanoma may appear on the skin suddenly without warning but also can develop from an existing mole. Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma. Melanoma and other skin cancers are highly treatable, if detected early.

Current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults age 25-29 and is the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults age 15-29.

Melanoma is increasing faster in females 15-29 years old than males in the same age group. In females 15-29 years old, the torso is the most common location for developing melanoma, which may be due to high-risk tanning behaviors.

You have a substantially increased risk of developing melanoma if you have many moles, large moles or atypical (unusual) moles.

Your risk is increased if a blood relative (e. g., your parents, children, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles) has had melanoma.

If you are a Caucasian with fair skin, your risk is higher than a Caucasian with olive skin.

Redheads and blonds have a higher risk of developing melanoma. Blue or green eyes also increase your risk.

Your chances increase significantly if you’ve already had a previous melanoma or if you have had basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, the more common forms of skin cancer.

What are Pennsylvania Dermatologists and Physicians doing about it?

The Pennsylvania Academy of

Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery (PAD) in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) strongly support skin cancer awareness and encourage all Pennsylvanians to be screened. PAD dermatologists will offer free skin cancer screenings and instruction on self-skin examinations on Wednesday, May 10th in the Capitol Rotunda at the Harrisburg Capitol.

The PAD and PAMED are particularly focused on sun protection for children and youth. This includes increasing access to sunscreen and sun protective clothing in schools as well as educating teenagers about the dangers of indoor tanning and that Pennsylvania law bans minors under 17 years of age from using tanning salons.