Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old. Dermatology specialists see patients fighting this deadly disease every day. An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017; an estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017 (Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics – SkinCancer.org).
Malignant melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, is the malignancy of melanocytes, located mostly in the skin. Despite genetic predisposition to this type of skin cancer, a significant amount of melanomas are caused by the sun.
There are some COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS that any dermatologist or dermatology clinic face in their practices with skin care:
- Using sunscreen increases your risk of getting melanoma
- Sunscreen is unsafe and causes cancer
- It is safe to use tanning beds as long as you use sunscreen
Other misconceptions are:
- Biopsy of suspicious moles will cause melanoma
- “Base” sun tan in the beginning of summer or before vacation is ok
Because unprotected sun exposure increases chances of melanoma tremendously, patient education from their dermatologist always includes safe sunscreen practices. Here are some things you can do to decrease your chances of skin cancer:
- Sun avoidance (especially between the hours of 12 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
- Seek shade
- Wear protective clothing
- Apply sunscreen SPF 30-50
- Keep annual skin cancer screening appointments
- Report any changing or new moles to your local dermatologist