Montefiore Expert Offers Tips on Prevention and Early Detection for May’s National Melanoma Awareness Month
NEW YORK (April 26, 2013) – This year alone, more than 77,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer that can be deadly if not detected early. Many people are under the impression that skin cancer only happens to fair-skinned people, but the truth is melanoma affects people of all ethnic backgrounds. It also is the number one cancer in people aged 25-29 and the fastest growing cancer in men and the second fastest in women in the nation.
As May’s National Melanoma Awareness Month approaches, it’s important to remember that protecting skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays significantly reduces risk of melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Additionally, recognizing early signs of the disease saves lives, with research showing a 95 percent cure rate in those instances. Karthik Krishnamurthy, D.O., chief dermatology consultant with the Melanoma Program at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, offers the following tips for the summer season and year round:
“I remind patients of the ‘ABCDE’ rule to detect changes in a mole: A is for asymmetry, B is for border, C is for color, D is for diameter, and E is for evolving,” Dr. Krishnamurthy said. “Any suspicious-looking moles or moles that have changed shape or color should be looked at by a physician as soon as possible.”
“Forty-six percent of people believed those with darker skin cannot get skin cancer, and 61 percent reported actively using tanning beds,” Dr. Krishnamurthy said. “This is very concerning because although melanoma is less common in darker-skinned individuals, there is a higher risk of late diagnosis with advanced melanomas and lower survival rates.”
“Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection that blocks both UVA and UVB radiation with an SPF of 30 or higher,” Dr. Krishnamurthy said.
Dr. Krishnamurthy is director of the cosmetic clinic at Montefiore’s Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery and assistant professor of Dermatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He provides general and cosmetic dermatologic care and specializes in prevention and detection of melanoma and other types of skin cancer in his role as chief dermatology consultant with the Melanoma/Sarcoma Program at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care.