What You Need to Know About Melanoma
Though Melanoma is among the most treatable types of cancer, the state of Missouri has one of the highest death rates from this common disease. In fact, according to CDC.gov, Missouri is top 10 in the United States in Melanoma death rate, with a rate of 3.1 to 3.7 out of 100,000 people dying as a result of skin cancer. Interestingly enough, however, when it comes to the rates of contracting the disease, Missouri is only middle of the pack. There are potentially many reasons for this difference in death rate vs incidence; but, above all else, it is because of a lack of early detection.
If detected early on, Melanoma is easily treated; but, after it has spread, the potential of death vastly increases; as such, it is important to understand the severity of this type of skin cancer.
The Dangerous Statistics of Melanoma
Here are a few sobering statistics:
- Every 52 minutes, a person dies of melanoma.
- In 2016, it is estimated that 76,380 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed.
- In 2016, approximately 10,000 people will die of melanoma.
- Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancers; however, it causes the majority of deaths.
- The majority of melanomas are caused by exposure to the sun.
- The five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma was detected early is approximately 98 percent.
Early Detection is Very Important
While melanoma may be a very serious form of skin cancer, early detection truly is the very best line of defense. One of the main detection tools is using the ABCDEs of skin cancer detection. During a monthly self-exam, you should be looking for moles or other skin growths that may be changing.
- Asymmetry: For example, if you were to draw a line through the mole and the two halves do not match.
- Border: Irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined borders.
- Color: Varies from one area to another, shades of tan and brown or black; sometimes white, red, or blue.
- Diameter: Melanomas are generally larger than 6 millimeters in diameter—however, they can be smaller.
- Evolving: This is when moles begin to change over time. These changes can include size, color, or if the mole starts to bleed, itch, or crust over.
Following the ABCDEs and self exams are important for people who are at higher risk for developing skin cancers. In addition to monthly self exams, an annual exam from your doctor dermatologist should be done as well. This annual exam can be beneficial for those areas of your body that you may not be able to see during your regular self exams. At Laser Lipo and Vein Center, we are happy to help you with regular exams, as well as addressing any questions or concerns you may have about skin cancers.