Quick Check Could Save Your Grandparents’ Lives

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Sunday, September 13, is National Grandparents Day, and the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) recommends that people lovingly remind their grandparents to perform a skin self-examination. Simply provide your grandparents with the Academy’s free tools to help them examine their skin for any suspicious lesions that could be cancerous. It’s an easy way to detect the only cancer that can be seen on the surface of a person’s skin.

Based on current estimates, substantially more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is being diagnosed more rapidly in men age 65 and older than in the general population. A history of exposure to UV rays is a risk factor for skin cancer.

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The Academy has created several tools to make it easy to determine if a mole is suspicious and should be brought to a dermatologist’s attention. The Academy’s Body Mole Map is a tool individuals can use to track their moles. The map provides information on how to perform a skin exam, images of the ABCDEs of melanoma and space for people to track their moles to determine any changes over time.

“Performing these checks regularly can help determine if a mole seems to be changing, which could be a sign of skin cancer,” said dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, president of the Academy. “Early detection is a key factor in the fight against skin cancer and ultimately can help save lives.”

One American dies of melanoma every hour (every 61 minutes). The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent. For more information about skin cancer, please visit the SkinCancerNet section of www.skincarephysicians.com, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

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