Today is Melanoma Monday

Today is Melanoma Monday and is internationally recognized as a day of skin cancer awareness.

As a company that cares about the health of your skin, SeaLuxe thought it would be prudent to join the wave of raising awareness of skin cancer during Melanoma Awareness Month, the need for preventative measures, and the important of early detection. Skin cancer is on the rise in Canada with more than 80,000 cases being diagnosed every year. Out of that, 7,200 diagnoses are melanoma which is the most deadly form of skin cancer.

In its late states, the average life expectancy is just six months. The one-year survival rate is only 25 per cent. The Canadian Cancer Society estimated 1,200 Canadians lost their lives to melanoma in 2017.

Melanoma is preventable as it is caused by overexposure of skin to UV radiation. The most common sources are the sun and tanning beds. While a little bit of sun is healthy (it kick starts the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produced vitamin D), excessive time under golden rays are dangerous.

UV rays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a good idea to cover up when outside for extended periods of time by wearing full-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and full-length pants. Apply sunscreen with a SPF 30+ regularly as well as apply a lip balm with SPF.

Pay attention to your skin. If you spot any moles that are asymmetrical or have irregular colours or a larger diameter than 6mm, report it to your doctor as soon as possible.

Steps of a skin cancer self-exam (Canadian Dermatology Association, patient handout “Melanoma Skin Cancer: Know the Signs, SaVe a Life” 2009)

  1. Using a mirror in a well-lit room, check the front of your body -- face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, thighs and lower legs.
  2. Turn sideways, raise your arms and look carefully at the right and left sides of your body, including the underarm area.
  3. With a hand-held mirror, check your upper back, neck and scalp. Next, examine your lower back, buttocks, backs of thighs and calves.
  4. Examine your forearms, palms, back of the hands, fingernails and in between each finger.
  5. Finally, check your feet -- the tops, soles, toenails, toes and spaces in between.

If you have been diagnosed with melanoma, get in touch with the Save Your Skin Foundation. The group supports all melanoma patients, at any stage, by connecting them to useful information and resources as well as helping to navigate the healthcare system. Patients can contact Save Your Skin at info@saveyourskin.ca or at 1-800-460-5832.