The Kent Island Bay Times - - Senior Satellite -

tan­ning beds is a ma­jor risk fac­tor for the dis­ease, along with fam­ily his­tory. One in 50 peo­ple will get melanoma in their life­time, but it’s cur­able when caught early.

Through treat­ment, doc­tors can cure about 80 per­cent of melanoma skin can­cers. Like squa­mous and basal cell skin can­cers, your doc­tor may re­move the spot and then usu­ally check nearby lymph nodes. Some melanoma can­cers have al­ready spread to other parts of the body when they’re first dis­cov­ered. For­tu­nately, over the past few years there have been tremen­dous de­vel­op­ments of new treat­ments that specif­i­cally tar­get the melanoma cells in the body, with very pos­i­tive re­sults.

What Should You Watch For? Skin can­cers are re­lated to sun ex­po­sure. But you should re­mem­ber that it may not be the sun­burn from your last va­ca­tion, but rather the re­peated ex­po­sure to sun over the years that can af­fect your risk of get­ting skin cancer.

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Academy of Der­ma­tol­ogy, there would be fewer deaths from melanoma if peo­ple took time to do reg­u­lar skin ex­ams. That means you should check for moles on every part of your body — from your scalp to the bot­toms of your feet and even un­der your fin­ger­nails.

No­tice the shape, size and color of your moles. Es­pe­cially be on the look­out for new moles or those that are growing or chang­ing over time or that look dif­fer­ent from the rest.

If you see any moles that con­cern you, or if you have a mole that itches, hurts or bleeds, talk with your doc­tor.

Glen R. Gib­son, MD, is a sur­gi­cal on­col­o­gist with Anne Arun­del Med­i­cal Cen­ter Sur­gi­cal On­col­ogy lo­cated in Kent Is­land. Dr. Gib­son spe­cial­izes in min­i­mally in­va­sive pro­ce­dures, with a fo­cus on on­co­logic surgery. If you have a cancer di­ag­no­sis that re­quires surgery, call 443-481-3717 to sched­ule an ap­point­ment.

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