Monday, May 6, 2013

Melanoma Monday

Miles today: 4.8 miles, 42:56 min
Miles in 2013: 368.53 miles

Today is Melanoma Monday. I already posted on Facebook, but it is just so important to get the message out. GET A SKIN CHECK!! 

I don't talk about work very much. Otherwise I would have named the blog, Avoid the Sun, Skin Cancer Sucks. But melanoma is an important topic and a major part of my everyday life. Even as a dermatology physician assistant, I love the sun and being outdoors. But the reality is that skin cancer is all too common and the rates of melanoma are still increasing. In fact, approximately 1 in 58 will be diagnosed with a melanoma sometime in their lives. As recently as last week I diagnosed a melanoma on a person under the age of 50. 

As runners, we are outside a ton. Outside and sweating profusely. (Well if you sweat like I do, you are) Try to run early or late in the day. Anytime you are out during day light, wear your sunscreen. I can't stress enough, sunscreen is SO important. The number SPF is not as important as reapplication. The sun degrades the molecules in sunscreen that protect you skin within 90 minutes to 2 hours in direct sunlight. Sweating reduces that time. Unless you are doing long runs, one application is fine. Just make sure you are using a broad spectrum sunscreen. Here are a couple of my favorites.
What would a melanoma awareness post be without the ABCDE's of Melanoma. These are things to look for and signs that a mole needs to be checked:

A - Asymmetry, most melanomas tend not to be perfectly round. 
B - Borders, borders are usually ill-defined and can be scalloped 
C - Color, any mole or freckle with more than 1-2 colors
D - Diameter, look for moles larger than 6mm. (although lots of healthy moles are this large)
E - Evolution, any mole or freckle rapidly changing

I always tell patients to look for the "ugly duckling." Any mole that looks differently from the rest of your moles should be checked, and as always, get an annual skin check. 

Enough public service announcements. I love the sun, especially sunsets.