More than 2 million Americans develop skin cancer each year. Most cases involve the disfiguring, but rarely fatal, forms of skin cancer called basal and squamous cell carcinomas. However an estimated 76,000 people were diagnosed with melanoma last year, and 9,700 Americans died from it (National Cancer Institute 2015). And the rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer are steadily increasing. According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970s, from 7.89 per 100,000 population in 1975 to 22.7 in 2010.
To help raise awareness about the dangers of melanoma, The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund made this heartfelt video entitled, “Dear 16 Year Old Me”, which features a series of melanoma survivors, as well as family members and friends of some people who didn’t survive. It relates to viewers their experiences and what can be done to prevent melanoma. There are some startling facts that people may not be aware of.
The key for survival and successful treatment is catching it early enough. Health professionals advise that people need to check their skin frequently for any changes and to watch for “the ABCDEs of melanoma”:
Moles that asymmetric in shape
Moles that have a border that is irregular
Moles that are dark black in color, or which have multiple colors in them
Moles that are larger than the diameter of an eraser on the end of a pencil
Moles that are evolving, which are changing size, shape or color
The American Cancer Association has more detailed photos you can look at to help identify skin cancer.
There are also several apps available like “Doctor Mole” that can help people monitor their moles for signs of changes. It’s very important that people become more aware of the dangers of melanoma because it can strike anyone at any age, and strikes young people increasingly frequently.
It’s also an important reminder to cover up and wear sunscreen when out in the sun no matter what age you are!
Share this information with your loved ones!