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  • 10/2/2010

Melanoma (part 2)


Diagnosis of Melanoma

Diagnosing skin cancer first begins with the discovery of a suspicious mole or change in the appearance of a mole on the skin. Abnormalities can be detected at home through self-skin exams or through a clinical skin exam done by a doctor. A clinical skin exam should be part of your physical, or if you are at a higher risk of melanoma, it should be done more often by a dermatologist.

If skin cancer is suspected, a biopsy must be done to confirm the presence or absence of cancer. A skin biopsy can be done in several ways, and most of them can be done in-office with a local anesthetic, depending on size and location.

If biopsy results show the presence of melanoma, more tests may be needed to determine how far the disease has spread. These tests can include chest x-rays, liver function tests and other tests as determined by your physician.

Prevention of Melanoma

Skin cancer may be the most common type of cancer, but it is also the most preventable types as well. The first step in preventing skin cancer is to avoid UV ray exposure.

We can do this by:

• Wearing Sunscreen. You have heard it a million times, but sunscreen really is one of your best bets in preventing skin cancer, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Experts recommend choosing a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 or higher. Don't forget to reapply every two hours, after swimming, and if you become sweaty.

• Avoiding Mid-Day Sun. Avoid going outdoors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is when the sun's rays are brightest, causing the most damage to skin. If you have to go outdoors, be sure to lather on sunscreen.

• Wearing Protective Clothing. Wearing hats and clothing that cover the skin are excellent ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Eyes are also susceptible to sun damage, so be sure to wear sunglasses that have UV protection.

• Staying Shady. Staying in the shade will not only keep you cooler, it will reduce your risk of UV exposure. Though you are in the shade, you will still need to wear sunscreen.

• Avoiding Tanning Beds/Booths. Artificial UV exposure is not any safer than natural exposure. Some studies even suggest that tanning beds and booths increase your risk of melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. 

Source: cancer.about.com

Other links:

Definition of Cancer

Types of Cancer

Kidney cancer (renal cell)

Bladder Cancer

Breast Cancer

Colon Cancer

Lung Cancer


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