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May is Melanoma Awareness Month

Malignant melanoma is the deadliest of all skin cancers; beginning in the deepest layer of the skin and can quickly spread to the lymph nodes and blood vessels. Melanoma is a tumor that originates in our melanocytes, cells which produce the pigment melanin that colors skin, hair, and eyes. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but occasionally they stop producing pigment; then melanomas can be pink, red, purple or even skin-colored. Melanoma is found most often in men on the area between the shoulders and hips, or on the head and neck.

Melanoma is most often caused by the Sun, so protect yourself. Always use sun-screen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least15 or higher, and consider sunscreen as much a part of your wardrobe as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Snow reflects the sun like a mirror; reflecting up to 95% of the sun's rays. You can be sunburned on a cloudy day as up to 80% of the sun's rays can penetrate light clouds, mist, and fog.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SunWise Program provides a UV Index to inform you of daily UV levels, and a new Ultraviolet (UV) Alert system sends out alerts when the level of solar UV radiation is predicted to be unusually high, and the risk of overexposure is greater. You can sign up for the free EnviroFlash service https://enviroflash.epa.gov/core/Start.do to receive the UV Alert by e-mail, including your community’s UV Index forecast and information.

A UC Irvine College of Medicine study has found, the chance of developing melanoma increases with age, but men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma after the age of 40. Melanoma has increased more rapidly than any other cancer in the past 10 years; over 55,000 new cases are reported to the American Cancer Society each year, not to mention the cases that are not reported.

Dermatologists recommend that you visit a doctor for routine skin cancer screenings as melanoma is almost uniformly survivable when detected early, but has a much worse prognosis if detected late. You should also examine your own skin every month, standing in front of a full-length mirror after a bath or shower. Examine all moles or markings, and look for any changes in the number, size, shape, or color of these markings, use a handheld mirror to help you view those difficult to see areas.

I am a cancer survivor; I endorse public education, and heartily encourage you to protect yourself with sunscreen every day.


This stuff is awesome.(The Terrasport 15 or 30) It goes on dry and isn't expensive. I really don't mind using it each day. I tried enough of the greasy ones. I do think zinc oxide is the way to go. The chemical ones aren't photostable and can burn your eyes if you sweat.
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