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Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in this country. It can impact people of all ages. Older adults who came of age when sunscreen use wasn’t widely promoted are at higher risk, as are younger adults who frequently use tanning beds.
One especially dangerous form is melanoma. It accounts for 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths.
To raise awareness about the risk factors for melanoma, the American Academy of Dermatology has designated the first Monday in May as National Melanoma Monday.
Melanoma is treatable with early intervention, which makes it important to understand the risk factors and symptoms. Here’s what you should know.
Risk Factors for Melanoma
Melanoma is the result of something going wrong in melanin-producing skin cells. While researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes it, there seem to be some common risk factors.
Symptoms of Melanoma
In addition to recommending annual exams with a doctor, the American Academy of Dermatology encourages people to perform self-exams. They recommend using the ABCDEs of melanoma:
You can download a body mole map at no cost to learn more about melanoma and conducting a full-body self-examination.
As is true of many health conditions, cancer prevention often begins with routine screenings. Read “Which cancer screenings do older adults need?” for guidelines on what screenings to discuss with your physician at every age.