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Melanoma Awareness Month

April 28th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Spring has sprung and it’s time to spring forward with your spring skin exam. May is Melanoma Awareness Month and a great time to Prevent. Detect. Live.

Spring brings daylight savings and we have an extra hour of daylight each day giving us longer days. It also means that we are exposed to additional sunlight ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Approximately 90 percent of all nonmelanoma skin cancers and about 65 percent of melanoma cancers, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are directly associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined numbers of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of skin color, gender or age. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. What makes these facts alarming is that skin cancer is highly preventable. It is a disease of behavior.  Prevent. Detect. Live.

“While the sun may not feel particularly strong this time of year, the UV rays can still penetrate and damage the skin,” commented Dr. Sean McCagh, Dermatologist at Western Maryland Dermatology. “It’s important to keep your skin protected, no matter what the season. UV rays can reach it even if it’s not incredibly bright and sunny. Sun protection is a 365 days a year effort.”  Prevent. Detect. Live.


The use of tanning beds and its UV rays increases the chance of melanoma by 75 percent. Melanoma is the number one new cancer diagnosed in young adults (ages 25-29), and scientists attribute this trend to the use of tanning beds among this age group, particularly young women. Prevent. Detect. Live.


Western Maryland Dermatology recommends following The Skin Cancer Foundation Prevention Guidelines:

·         Seek the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm.

·         Do not burn.

·         Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.

·         Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

·         Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

·         Apply one ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 3o minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

·         Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.

·         Examine your skin from head-to-toe every month.

·         See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

·         Prevent! Detect! Live!


Early-stage melanomas can often be treated effectively with surgery alone, but more advanced cancers often require other treatments. Sometimes more than one type of treatment is used. If you have any concerns or questions about melanoma or any form of skin cancer, call the offices of Western Maryland Dermatology at 301-777-7900 or online at

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