Melanoma is the most deadly of all the skin cancers. It is almost
universally accepted that overexposure to the sun, especially
sunburns and blistering, is the primary cause. Limiting exposure to
the sun is the best prevention of melanoma. Heredity, radiation, and
exposure to other sources of UV rays including sun lamps and tanning
beds are also thought to play a small part. Though most common in
fair-skinned people, anyone can get skin cancer.
Symptoms may include:
• Any new or changed mole, growth, lesion, or sore
• Changes in color or multi-colored areas. Just about any color is
• Change in size or very large moles (anything larger than a pencil
• Irregular borders or surfaces; edges that are jagged, blurry, or
• Asymmetry two halves that do not match
• Any bleeding, drainage, or scales; any sores that seem to heal
• Change in sensation at or near a blemish: itchiness, pain,
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO:
• Finish the full prescription of antibiotics, even if you start to
feel better. This assures complete treatment of the infection.
• Apply an ice pack (ice in a plastic bag, covered with a thin
towel) on the engorged breast 3 to 6 times a day for 15 to 20
minutes at a time. Do not use ice packs within 1 hour of nursing.
Use warm compresses instead.
• Wear an uplift bra during treatment.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Prevent melanoma and other skin cancers by limiting exposure to the
• Avoid exposure to the sun during peak times of day (10AM to 4PM)
• Use a waterproof sunscreen with a SPF (sun protective factor) of
at least 15. Apply 30 minutes before exposure and at least every 2
hours. Use an opaque barrier cream (e.g., zinc oxide) for extra
protection on the nose, ears, and shoulders
• Wear loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing, a broad-brimmed hat,
• UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow, or concrete
• You can get sunburn on a cloudy day
• Sunburn is more likely at high altitudes and further south (closer
to the equator)
• Early detection is the key to a cure
Perform routine self-exams of your skin:
• You will need a full-length mirror, a hand-held mirror, and a
well-lit, private space
• Examine your entire body, front and back, left and right sides
• Make notes or a diagram and describe all growths, moles, and
• Look for any of the changes listed above
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:
• With early diagnosis and treatment, melanoma can be cured.
• However, melanoma cells can grow deep into the layers of the skin
then spread to other parts of the body. If not caught and treated
early, it can be fatal.
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
ASSISTANCE If you have any of these changes or any
change or blemish that you are not sure about.