By Brent D. Wainwright | Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery
Since 1995, the American Academy of Dermatology has designated the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®, which officially kicks off “Skin Cancer Awareness Month.” Melanoma, the deadliest form of this disease, is the most important to watch out for. As the summer approaches and you spend more time outside, we encourage you to protect your skin and examine it regularly for any suspicious changes.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will develop it in their lifetime. An average of one person dies of melanoma every hour. Rates have doubled over the last 30 years.
According to Dr. Wainwright, an expert in the management and treatment of complex pigmented lesions (moles) and melanoma, “Skin cancer does not discriminate – all skin types are susceptible to varying degree.” He points out that some people might be unaware that the legendary Bob Marley’s unfortunate early death was due to metastatic melanoma.
What causes melanoma exactly? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause changes in the DNA of some skin cells and turn them cancerous. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. Despite their popularity, Dr. Wainwright says, “There is no safe tan; every time you tan, you damage your skin. This damage accelerates the aging of your skin and increases the risk for all types of skin cancer.”
Fortunately, skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s treated early. We can all take an active role in preventing and detecting it. Dr. Wainwright offers his wisdom below.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Improve Chances of Early Detection
Dr. Wainwright is trained in dermoscopy, a painless and noninvasive technique used to help doctors better visualize lesions and identify skin cancer at its most early stage. He is based at CareMount’s Katonah campus.
Have a safe and happy May!