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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It forms in cells called melanin that make skin color. Melanoma may appear as a new mole, or in moles you already have.
Contact your healthcare provider or oncologist if:
- You have a mole that changes in shape, size, color, or texture.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Take care of your skin:
- Protect your skin from the sun's ultraviolet (UVA UVB) rays:
- Wear sunscreen that has an SPF (sun protectant factor) of 15 or higher. Make sure it has UVA and UVB protection. Follow directions when you use sunscreen. Put on more sunscreen if you swim, sweat, or are in the sun for longer than an hour. Protect your lips by using lipsticks and lip balms that contain sunscreen.
- Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun is strongest and most damaging to your skin.
- Wear protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will protect your arms and legs when you are out in the sun. A wide-brimmed hat can protect both your face and neck. Wear sunglasses that have UVA and UVB protection.
- Do not use tanning booths. These can damage your skin as much as the sun can.
Check your skin for melanoma:
Look for new bumps on your skin every week. Check your entire body, including your scalp. Look for moles that change in shape, size, color, or texture. Know what your regular birthmarks and moles look like. Use the ABCDE system:
- A symmetry means if a line is drawn through the middle of the mole, the 2 halves are not equal.
- B order means the edges of the mole are not smooth.
- C olors include blue, black, brown, or red.
- D iameter means the size of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser.
- E volution means the mole changes. This may include changes in appearance, changes in symptoms, such as bleeding, or changes in shape, size, or color. The area may also itch or feel hard, lumpy, swollen, or tender.
For more information:
- American Cancer Society
250 Williams Street
Atlanta , GA 30303
Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
Web Address: http://www.cancer.org
- The Skin Cancer Foundation
149 Madison Avenue, Suite 901
New York , NY 10016
Phone: 1- 212 - 725-5176
Web Address: www.skincancer.org
Follow up with your oncologist as directed:
You will need to be seen at least every 3 months for the first 2 years. After that, your oncologist may want to see you every 6 months. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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