Charleston Dermatology Blog

What Is Melanoma?

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Melanoma. You’ve probably heard of this specific type of skin cancer, but what is it? Let’s dive in and talk all things melanoma.

Melanoma is one of the most concerning forms of skin cancer, however, patients typically have favorable outcomes with detected and treated early.

This cancer is caused by exposure to sunlight and artificial UV light. The number of intense sunburns you’ve had in your life and tanning bed use is both two common experiences that may increase your risk of getting melanoma.

Melanoma can affect patients at any age and any skin color. If you have light hair or light eyes, you may be at a higher risk than those with dark hair and dark eyes.

Want some tips to prevent melanoma?

  1. Wear your SPF daily! Rain or shine, it’s important to apply sunscreen liberally to help prevent concerning skin changes.
  2. Keep a hat handy! Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can help protect your face, neck, and ears from unwanted, potentially harmful rays.
  3. Find the shade! When in doubt, find shade especially during mid-day when the sun is the strongest!
  4. Don’t forget to #CheckDetectProtect all year.

Want to know how to check your moles to see if they are potentially concerning for melanoma? We like to use the ABCDE rule when checking our moles!

  • A- Asymmetry (not symmetrical in shape)
  • B- Border irregularity (non-uniform border)
  • C- Color (several different colors/shades)
  • D- Diameter (bigger than a pencil eraser)
  • E- Evolving (changing in shape, color, or size)

When in doubt, be sure to make an appointment with your dermatology provider to perform a skin exam to check for any concerning lesions. Give us a call to make an appointment today or schedule one online at any time!

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