Know your risk for melanoma - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

President's Prescription

Know your risk for melanoma

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With the summer sun at its strongest, let's revisit skin cancer risk and prevention. The three main types are: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma, the least common but most deadly.

Consider the risk factors:

  • History. If you've had a skin cancer diagnosed before (even if it was basal cell or squamous cell), you're at an increased risk for melanoma. If your mother, father or a sibling had a melanoma, your risk is higher.
  • Moles or freckles. If you have lots of them (especially if they're large), you may be at increased risk.
  • Cell type. If you've ever had a "precancerous" mole removed and the pathology report showed a dysplastic nevus, you're at increased risk.
  • Fair complexion. Fair-skinned folks don't enjoy the same protection from the sun as do those with dark or olive skin.
  • Geography. Those who live in sunnier climes (Florida vs. Michigan) are at increased risk.
  • Sunburn. Even a single high-intensity sunburn - one bad enough to cause blisters - will increase your risk.
  • Weak immune system. The body's immune system helps ward off cancers. If it's compromised, so is its ability to protect you from melanomas.

As you can see, summer is a great time to spend outdoors with the family. It's just really important that when you do it, you do it safely-just protect your skin.

For the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and this is the President's Prescription.

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