The ABCDE’s of Melanoma
Skin cancers of all types are on the rise, but the most worrisome statistics concern malignant melanoma, the deadliest of all the skin cancers. Not only are more people getting it, but it is occurring in younger people. Loretta Pratt, MD of the Sally Balin Medical Center near Philadelphia, noted that their practice used to see very few teens with malignant melanoma in a year while now they see them monthly. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 75% of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, with about one American dying from it per hour.
Melanomas arise in pigment-producing cells that are responsible for skin color. The most important risk factor is exposure to ultraviolet light in the form of sun light or tanning beds. In fact, a 2010 study from Australia, where melanoma is a widely acknowledged public health problem, showed that daily application of sunscreen can cut melanoma risk in half.