Melanoma accounts for just 1% of all skin cancer diagnoses, but it’s the deadliest form. Even so, around 90% of those diagnosed will survive the five-year mark of their diagnosis and 85% survive for 10 or more years, so if caught early, it can definitely be managed.

In addition to regular screenings, being informed can also be key to detection, treatment, or recovery.

Ontario Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has five important facts about melanoma.

  1. UV Rays Are a Major Risk Factor

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or an artificial source like a tanning bed is a major risk factor for developing melanoma. When out in the sun, be sure to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30, reapply every two hours, and cover as much of your head as possible using hats and sunglasses.

  1. Other Common Risk Factors

There are several other risk factors for melanoma, including being a man over the age of 50, having fair skin, freckles, red or blond hair, a family history of melanoma, and a personal history of other skin cancers.

  1. Melanoma Can Show in Many Ways

In addition to changes in existing moles or a new spot or patch on your skin, melanoma can also show itself via a band of darker skin, a dark, vertical line under a nail, or a slowly growing patch of thick skin that looks like a scar.

  1. Surgery Is a Common Treatment

The only way to diagnose melanoma is through a skin biopsy. If it is found early, surgery in a doctor’s office is usually the only treatment necessary, but surgery in a hospital is more likely in complex cases.

  1. Following-Up Is Key

After treatment, keep up with all your follow-up visits because a recurrence of melanoma is most likely to return within five years if it will at all.


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