Sun Safety and Skin Cancer: How You Can Make a Difference
Overview • Skin Cancer in Maine • Melanoma in Maine • Types of Skin Cancer • What Does Melanoma Look Like? • Who is at Risk? Risk Factors • Prevention • Points to Remember • What You Can Do
Skin Cancer In Maine • Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in Maine. Basal Cell & Squamous cell skin cancer. • Melanoma is the deadliest form but is much less common than other types of skin cancer. • In 2006, almost 400 Mainers will be diagnosed with melanoma. • The rate of melanoma in Maine has tripled since the 1990s. • The average age of patients with melanoma is early 40’s. • Almost 50 people die every year from melanoma in Maine.
Skin Cancer in Maine (con’t) • Relative 5-year survival rate for patients with basal or squamous cell is more than 95-99%. • Relative 5-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with melanoma is 91%, early stage 98%, regional stage 60%, distant stage 16%, 83% diagnosed in local stage.
Asymmetry: one half of a mole is different from the other. Border: edges of mole are irregular-ragged, blurred or notched. Color: pigmentation of mole is varied and may be brown and black with red, white or blue, creating a mottled appearance. Diameter: width is usually greater than six millimeters-about the size of a pencil eraser. Also look for an increase in the size of a mole. Evolving: any change – in size, shape, color, elevation or another trait or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting – points to danger. ABCDEs of Melanoma
Who Is at Risk? Although anyone can develop skin cancer, some people are at particular risk. Risk factors include • Light skin color, hair color, or eye color. • Family history of skin cancer. • Personal history of skin cancer. • Chronic exposure to the sun. • History of sunburns early in life. • Certain types of moles, or a large number of moles. • Freckles, which indicate sun sensitivity and sun damage.
Prevention of Skin Cancer • Avoid unprotected exposure to the sun, especially between 10 -4, when the rays are the strongest. • Block out the sun by using sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and reapply every two hours.
Prevention of Skin Cancer (cont’) • Cover your body with long-sleeved shirts and long pants. • Wear a broad brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV-protection lenses.
Points to Remember • It’s better to prevent skin cancer and melanoma than to treat it Minimize sun exposure: shade, cover, sunscreen • Perform regular self-exams to catch any suspicious moles or other lesions as early as possible • If you find something that looks suspicious see your physician as soon as possible
How You Can Make a Difference! • Model sun safe behaviors and attitudes • Lead by example • Educate others about sun safety • Develop and implement sun safety procedures/guidelines • Join the Maine Cancer Consortium Skin Cancer Work Group
Skin Cancer Resources www.mainecancerconsortium.orgwww.cancer.orgwww.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/www.skincancer.orgwww.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/skin/