Saturday, May 30, 2009

This is why I relay ...

Today I am participating in the Relay For Life® sponsored by The American Cancer Society. It is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people across the country each year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.

I relay because I want to spend time with family and friends and raise awareness of malignant melanoma, a very deadly type of skin cancer. Melanoma is quickly becoming a leading type of cancer of people from all ages and is on an increase over the past decade.

I write this blog about melanoma because early detection is key. I can't tell you that I didn't know about skin cancer. I will tell you that if I had known someone close to me diagnosed with skin cancer, I would have gone directly to the doctor's office and had an exam.

My mole had only been showing signs for about three months. It was on the left side of my neck and went from normal healthy mole to big, dark and bloody very quickly. By time I had it removed, it was already stage III. This tells us that we have to act swiftly as melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms for cancer.

Though not all melanomas are the same, here are some key things to look out for.

A: Asymmetry. Is the mole evenly shaped. Most normal moles are.
B: Border. Does your mole have irregular borders or is jagged?
C: Color. Are there multiple colors on your mole? Is it very very dark?
D: Diameter. What size it is? Has it recently changed in size?

One key thing to note is that melanoma can be very tricky and have all or even none of these attributes. Bottom line, if you have any moles that have had any recent changes, please have it checked.

If you are reading this blog, please go for an exam. Even a dermotologist can't tell just by looking at a mole if it is melanoma. If you know someone that has put off an appointment for far too long, make the call for them.

1 comment:

this is paul said...

For Team Smelanoma - Relay for Life pictures check out http://thisispaul.xtreemhost.com

this is paul