With summer coming, how concerned should you be about melanoma?

Monday marks ‘Melanoma Monday’

Stock image. (Pexels)

With the calendar hitting May and summer quickly approaching, that means sales of sunscreen will be ratcheting up with beach weather hitting its peak season.

Such sunscreen will be necessary as one preventive measure of melanoma, a type of skin cancer that is estimated to be diagnosed in close to 100,000 adults in the United States this year, according to cancer.net.

The website also estimates that there will be 7,650 deaths from melanoma this year.

Since Melanoma Monday is today, here are some facts, figures and preventive measures tied to melanoma, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What causes melanoma?

When there’s an issue with melanin-producing cells that give color to your skin, melanoma occurs. This is often caused by genetic factors and exposure from ultraviolet radiation, either from the sun or from tanning on lamps and beds.

Having a weakened immune system or more than 50 ordinary moles can indicate an increased chance of melanoma.

What are the symptoms of melanoma?

The development of moles or pigmented growth on your skin, or changes to existing moles, are symptoms of melanoma.

Normal moles are generally a uniform color such as tan, brown or black, and often smaller than 1/4 of an inch in diameter.

Moles can also be hidden in places such as underneath a nail, in the mouth, in the digestive tract, in the urinary tract or in the eye.

What are ways to prevent melanoma?

  • Avoid the sun in the middle of the day. The sun’s rays are generally stronger between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it’s advisable to schedule outdoor activities for other periods of the day. This isn’t just for sunny days either, as clouds don’t offer much protection from damaging rays.
  • Use sunscreen year-round. Again, this is important even on cloudy days. Applying sunscreen every two hours if you’re swimming or sweating is recommended.
  • Wear protective clothing. Covering your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat is advised.
  • Avoid tanning lamps and beds. The UV rays emitted can be harmful to the skin.

This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.