South San Francisco, CA April 29, 2022 Submitted by Kaiser Permanente
Melanoma Monday: Kaiser Permanente Dermatologist shares tips for protecting your skin
With today being Melanoma Monday, dermatologists across the nation are stressing the importance of regular skin check-ups and protecting ourselves from the sun’s dangerous UV rays.
“Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in white patients than Black patients,” said David Murad, MD, FS, FAAD, a dermatologist at the Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center. “Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Latinos.”
Most melanomas are treated by surgical excision. If a mole looks suspicious, it’s imperative to schedule a check-up, Murad said.
“Dermatologists mainly look for a changing pigmented lesion or a new pigmented lesion that is evolving with what we refer to as A, B, C, D, E markers,” he added.
- Asymmetry of the lesion
- Border irregularities
- Color variegation (the presence of multiple shades of red, blue, black, gray or white)
- Diameter greater than or equal to 6 mm
- Evolution (a lesion that is changing in size, shape, or color, or a new lesion)
Many people still believe that a tan is healthy and will protect them from sun damage later in the summer. However, if the skin changes color from sun exposure, this is a sign that UV are damaging the skin cells. UV rays cause DNA damage even when a person doesn’t have a sunburn.
Murad’s advice? Remember to limit your exposure to the sun (mainly ultraviolet light) by following these “S” rules:
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on sunscreen (SPF 50 or better)
- Slap on a hat
- Stay in the Shade
Although the exact cause of all melanomas isn’t clear, experts believe that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight and tanning lamps and beds increases the risk developing melanoma. Limiting exposure to UV radiation can help to reduce the risk of melanoma.
“While melanoma is a serious skin cancer, it’s highly curable if caught early,” Murad said. “Prevention and early treatment are critical.”