Dr. Emily Arch shares some important information on skin cancer prevention.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month and an opportunity to remind our patients, before the sunny summer months ahead, of the importance of prevention and early detection of this potentially deadly
form of cancer. By the time 2019 draws to an end, it is predicted that new melanoma diagnoses will increase by nearly 8%. The good news is that when skin cancer, even melanoma, is caught early, it is curable.
Part of early detection involves performing monthly self-skin examinations. We recommend that patients try to evaluate their moles from head to toe monthly, looking for early warning signs of melanoma. Keeping an eye out for “ugly ducklings” is a useful concept when performing self-exams. Any moles that do not “fit in” with your typical mole pattern are potentially concerning and should be brought to your doctor’s attention. Being aware of the “ABCDE” signs of melanoma is also helpful when looking at your moles:
A: Asymmetry – if you draw a line down the middle of a mole and the sides do not match
B: Border irregularity – the peripheral edge of the mole is not smooth or even
C: Color – a variety of colors in a single mole
D: Diameter – moles > 6mm (the size of the end of a pencil eraser) are potentially concerning
E: Evolving – a mole changing over time
Remember, prevention is key! Studies suggest that over 80% of melanomas are related to ultraviolet light
exposure. However, sunscreen and sun avoidance can decrease your risk of melanoma dramatically.
Follow these tips to improve your protection:
-Daily use of a sunscreen with SPF of at least 15.
-Avoid exposure between 10am and 4pm.
-When outdoors for extended periods, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher.
-Always reapply every two hours or after swimming/sweating.
-Broad brimmed hats, sunglasses and swim shirts are a stylish way to protect exposed skin.
-Avoid tanning beds completely!
In addition to good sun protection practices and self-skin exams, seeing your dermatologist annually for
a thorough skin cancer screening is an important part of skin cancer prevention and early detection. Do
not hesitate to come in earlier if you are concerned with a new or changing mole. Your skin health is our
To schedule an appointment for a full body skin cancer screening with Dr. Arch or any of our providers, you can reach out to us via Klara or call us at 773-276-1100.