Mmmmm… Melanoma

By Valerie Chen

Skin cancer, the only form of the disease that can be seen on
the surface of skin, can be prevented.

A new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology reports that
the majority of people are not taking the time to examine any
warning signs of skin cancer.

Chris Chow, a sixth-year hospitality and restaurant management
student, is not surprised about the survey’s results.

“Since we do live somewhere where it is sunny a lot, we are
extremely exposed,” said Chow. “I need to take care of my body
since I am getting older and I am not going to live forever.”

The “Sun Intelligence: How Sun Smart is Your City?” online poll
surveyed more than 7,000 adults nationwide.

Results revealed that more than 28 percent of all respondents
indicated never examining their skin for changes to moles and other
skin blemishes.

Young adults, 18 to 29 years old, reported never examining their
skin more than any other age group.

Three in five respondents revealed never being examined by a
health-care provider.

This included 69 percent of young adults.

“It is kind of na_Ò_àve to think that skin cancer cannot hurt me
because most of the people who find it are in their later years,”
said Russel Glahn, a fourth-year business technology operations
student. “They cannot simply burn away things that are already
developed.”

Apathy towards examination is common among students.

Kaitlyn Lopez, a second-year sociology student, has checked for
signs but expressed doubt that her peers have done the same.

“I think the survey is eye-opening,” said Lopez. “I don’t think
everybody does, including my friends. More people should get
examinations.”

More than one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the
United States.

Melanoma, the most serious form of cancer, is also the most
common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults.

But apparently, it takes more than these alarming and real facts
to force students to be safe.

“A lot of people, especially in college, think that they are
invincible,” said Chow. “They don’t take the time for health
concerns. I think I’m invincible” until I get really sick.”

Sun block and sunscreen can only do so much to protect your
skin.

Like many cancers, skin cancer is easily treatable if caught
early before it spreads.

Studies show that a five-year survival rate for detection and
treatment of melanoma before it spreads is 99 percent.

The high percentage of skin cancer survival emphasizes the
necessity of skin examination.

“I have pretty fair skin so I know I’m more prone to cancer,”
said Glahn. “I have been to the dermatologist and had moles
burned.”

The Academy gives a suggestion for an easy way individuals can
check their own skin.

With the ABCDE’s of Melanoma Detection, individuals should check
their skin for asymmetry (one unlike the other half), border
(irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined), color (varying from one
area to the other), diameter (size of a pencil eraser or larger),
and evolving (changing in size, shape, or color).

“I did not know about these steps,” said Lopez. “Like how most
people know about checking for breast cancer, more people should
know about checking for skin cancer.”

Reach Valerie Chen at: lifestyle@thepolypost.com

Mmmmm... Melanoma

Illustration by Roland Tran/Poly Post

Mmmmm… Melanoma

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