What is Melanoma?
The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Melanoma kills an estimated 9,940 people in the US annually.
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, more than 135,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year. In 2015, an estimated 73,870 of these will be invasive melanomas, with about 42,670 in males and 31,200 in women.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma
Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That’s why it’s so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDE signs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately. Follow this link to learn more about the ABCDE’s of Melanoma.
Lieutenant Uriah Eddingfield has been a firefighter with the Noblesville (Indiana) Fire Department for 12 years. He is married to Carrie Maffeo, Director of the Health Education Center at the Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. As the spouse of a University employee enrolled in Butler’s group health plan, Uriah has been able to take advantage of Healthy Horizons services. Supported by Healthy Horizons, he changed his eating habits, improved his overall health, and lost more than 40 pounds. Read more about Uriah’s story on the Healthy Horizons website.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.
Sun Safety Tips
Check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index before you spend time outdoors and plan your sun protection accordingly, using these tips—
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
- Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
- Use sunscreen with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection and sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
- Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
Fast Facts About Skin Cancer
- When you’re having fun outdoors, it’s easy to forget how important it is to protect yourself from the sun. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take as long as 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.
- Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage.
- Tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays.
- Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk.
- Indoor tanning exposes users to both UVA and UVB rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer.
- A change in your skin is the most common symptom of skin cancer. This could be a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.
Celebrate spring with a nourishing bowl packed to the brim with the first produce the season has to offer. Baby spinach and asparagus sing of spring, while quinoa and avocado round out the meal.
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Baby spinach leaves
- Half an avocado, chopped
- Several pieces of asparagus
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or to taste)
- Dressing of your choice
- Handful of sliced almonds
Boil vegetable broth, then add quinoa, bring to a simmer, cover and cook about 15 minutes
While quinoa cooks, put asparagus spears on a baking sheet, sprinkle with garlic and drizzle olive oil over. Cook in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
To assemble bowl, put cooked quinoa in the bottom, cover with some baby spinach leaves, add a few spears of roasted asparagus, and the chopped avocado.
Drizzle with dressing of your choice and sprinkle some sliced almonds over top.
The changing of seasons, especially this time of year, is a welcome change. And just like the weather, your financial life also has seasons. There’s the ‘we just had a baby’ season, the ‘I just lost my job’ season, and the ‘I’m close to retirement’ season to name a few. Each season of your financial life comes with unique challenges and adjustments. Your ability to think ahead and prepare for an upcoming season predicts your ability to handle what comes your way. But what will always hold you back is dealing with last season’s mistakes in your new season. Debt from your first child limits how you handle having your second child. Paying your own student loans when you are trying to fund your child’s college fund puts you in a bind. Deal with each season as it happens, but always remember a season change is just around the corner.