Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month

Skin cancer awareness

posted on 5/6/2020 in BLOGS from St. Anthony

It’s May and the warmer temperatures mean people are making their way outdoors. There are a myriad of benefits that come from being outside in the sunshine and fresh air including improved mood, a boost in Vitamin D, improved brain function, disease prevention, and even weight loss! While exposure to sunlight is crucial to your wellbeing, soaking up the sunshine without protection can be deadly. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is America’s most common form of cancer. Luckily, it is also the most preventable. 

Tips to prevent skin cancer

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Don’t get sunburned.
  • Avoid tanning, and using UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. 
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. 
  • Use sunscreen on babies over the age of six months. Always keep newborns out of the sun. 
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • Review and report suspicious moles or areas with your medical provider.

Warning signs

If you are unfamiliar with the ABCDE guide when it comes to usual signs of melanoma you should familiarize yourself with it and seek advice from a professional if you notice changes. It is also important to note, not all cases of skin cancer fit into these categories. 

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller.
  • E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

Other warning signs

  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • The spread of pigment from the border of a spot into the surrounding skin
  • Redness or a new swelling beyond the border of the mole
  • Change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
  • Change in the surface of a mole – scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or the appearance of a lump or bump

While there is no denying sunlight plays a vital role in our wellbeing, it’s important to protect yourself when you’re spending time outside.  St. Anthony Regional Hospital (Carroll, IA) is dedicated to improving the health of the people we serve. We believe in providing high quality, healthcare services responsive to the needs of our patients. For more information, visit our website or call us at 712-792-3581. Remember to follow us on Facebook!



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