May isÂ Melanoma Awareness Month. But you may not know some troubling facts about melanoma: While the incidence of many common cancers is falling, the incidence of melanoma continues to rise at a rate faster than any of the seven most common cancers. In fact,Â 1 in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime. However, the survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early in an incredible 99%. RenownedÂ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt explains, â€œEarly detection is crucial when it comes to melanoma. Prevention is best, but being proactive about self-examination and dermatologist visits can literally be the difference between life and death.â€
Dr. Brandt recommends the following self-examination techniques:
Thoroughly inspect every inch of skin, using mirrors to help you get a clear view of tough-to-see places.
Donâ€™t overlook areas like lips, between fingers and toes, under nails, palms and soles of feetâ€”these spots can be just as susceptible.
Use a blow dryer to thoroughly inspect your scalpâ€”skin that gets a lot of sun and can be tough to protect.
Women should be sure to lift breasts to inspect the undersideâ€”you can still get melanoma on areas the sun doesnâ€™t reach.
Ask someone close to you to help you with your checkâ€”the more eyes, the better.
Be sure to use the â€œABCDâ€ guide to assess freckles and moles: Be on the lookout for Asymmetry, uneven Borders, uneven Color or large Diameter.
If youâ€™re concerned about any discoloration or growth, donâ€™t hesitate to see your dermatologist! It could be one of the best decisions of your life.
Finally, prevention is the best cureâ€”be sure to wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine. MyÂ UV SPF 20 high protection face sunscreen provides superior protection against UVA/UVB rays while decreasing pigmentation caused by UV exposure to prevent photo-aging ($35 atÂ www.drbrandskincare.com).