Skin Cancer Awareness – Melanoma Leaves a Mark on Wyoming
GREEN RIVER, Wyo. - When the weather turns nice, Wyomingites head outdoors. That characterization fits with the assessment that skin cancer is a "lifestyle disease."
It also can be a deadly disease, with Wyoming home to some of the nation's highest melanoma death rates during the past decade.
Yolanda Wide, health initiatives coordinator for the American Cancer Society, is getting the word out about the A-B-C-Ds of early detection when examining a lesion or mole:
"A" stands for asymmetrical.
""B" is for border. If the edges are ragged or blurred, that is another sign to be cautious and go talk to the doctor about.
"C" is for color. "Make sure the pigmentation is not uniform."
"D" stands for diameter. If a mole is the size of a pencil eraser or larger, Wide says, it should be examined by a physician.
Skin cancer risks indoors have to be noted, too, Wide says, and the cancer society is working to get the safety message to young people.
"Mostly teenagers tend to utilize tanning beds, so we have literature geared specifically for them, so that they understand that they are dangerous."
The cancer society says melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 75,000 cases this year nationwide. It estimates that about 20 Wyomingites will die from it this year.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency's Sunwise campaign estimates that the melanoma death rate in Wyoming has increased 1.5 percent every year since 1975. Those statistics are online at epa.gov/sunwise.
More information is at cancer.org.