How to spot melanoma

Check your body before you hit the summer season and expose yourself to the sun. Remember, melanoma is a young person’s disease. Melanoma is not the most common form of skin cancer, but it is the deadliest. One in 50 Americans will develop malignant melanoma and around 10,000 people will die from it this year. And it’s not just a disease that affects the elderly. In fact, melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer in young adults between the ages of 25 and 29. And it grows incredibly quickly. You need to share this.

AAD illustrationFacing the wall mirror, examine your face including lips, ears, and eyes. Use a flashlight to check inside your mouth, nostrils, and ears. Check your neck, shoulders, and upper chest. Women should also check under breasts.
AAD illustrationUsing both mirrors, check behind your ears, neck, and upper back. While parting your hair with the blow dryer or brush, use both mirrors to check your scalp—front, back, and sides. Or have a partner or family member help.
AAD illustrationCheck your abdomen, front and sides. Use the hand mirror to check your mid- to lower back carefully. (The back is the most common site of melanomas in males.) Use the hand mirror or both mirrors to check all areas of your buttocks and genitals, including hidden parts.
AAD illustrationRaise both of your arms and check all sides of your arms and hands, including between fingers and under fingernails. Then check under your arms and the sides of your upper body.
AAD illustrationSitting on a small chair or stool, prop each leg in turn on the other chair or stool. Check all sides of your legs from ankles to thighs. Check your feet, including the tops, heels, soles, between toes, and under toenails. (Legs are the most common sites of melanomas in females.)
Illustrations: American Academy of Dermatology

The good news is that a cure may be coming down the pike. Researchers at a Utah cancer institute say they are hot on the trail to a cure for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Scientists at the Huntsman Cancer Institute are using mutated herpes viruses and injecting them directly into melanoma tumors to attack cancer cells. The treatment — a form of immunotherapy — essentially boosts the patient’s own immune defenses to fight cancer, using the herpes virus (which has been engineered to be benign) as a kind of Trojan-horse therapy. To date, 25 percent of patients who have undergone the therapy have remained cancer free.

srctiny_360Remember, the self-reliant person doesn’t tempt fate. Either use sunscreen or if you don’t like the idea of those chemicals, dress in light clothes, wear a hat and sunglasses, and watch out you don’t burn your hands, ankles and feet.