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Melanoma Myths: Just The Facts (Part 1)

In recognition of ‘Skin Cancer Awareness Month’, we’re publishing a two-part series focusing on melanoma myths. Part 1 of this series dispels four of the most popular myths surrounding melanoma.

As skin care professionals who screen and treat thousands of patients each year, we know there is an abundance of myths and misinformation surrounding melanoma and other skin cancers.

“Unfortunately, myths and misinformation costs lives,” says Richard Price, M.D., of Price Skin Care Clinic in Ridgeland, MS. “It’s important to know the truth about melanoma so you can protect yourself and those you love.”

Myth #1: “Skin Cancer Isn’t Terminal.”
Fact: It’s true that some forms of skin cancer are treatable and have high survival rates. But unless melanoma is detected early and treated, it can be terminal.

In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 8,290 people will die from melanoma this year alone.

“But if detected early and treated, melanoma is usually curable with a five-year survival rate,” said Dr. Price. “This is why it’s important to have an annual skin screening.”

Myth #2: “Melanoma is Rare: So, I Don’t Need to Worry About It.”
Fact: While melanoma accounts for just one percent of all skin cancers diagnosed, it is responsible for the majority of deaths.

In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation:
• More than 200,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year.
•. Melanoma is one of the most frequently occurring cancers in young adults ages 20 to 30.
•. Melanoma is the main cause of cancer death in women 25 to 30 years old.

“Just because you think a specific form of cancer is ‘rare’ doesn’t mean you don’t need to be concerned,” said Dr. Price.

Myth #3: “Melanoma Only Affects Older People.”
Fact: Although the average age of a melanoma diagnosis is 66, it is still one of the most common cancers in young adults. and especially among young women. Melanoma can strike people of any age, gender, color, or race.

Myth #4: “People With Darker Skin Don’t Get Melanoma.”
Fact: While those with fair skin and lighter eye color are at higher risk for melanoma, it does not discriminate. It can strike those of all races and skin colors. Unfortunately, those with darker skin are less likely to survive because their melanoma is often diagnosed at a later stage of the disease after it has spread.

Key Takeaway: See Your Skin Care Professional Annually
Don’t let these myths and misinformation keep you from having an annual skin exam or seeing a skin care professional if you see a new spot on your skin or one that has changed.

“Remember, early detection and treatment are the keys to curing melanoma or any other type of skin cancer,” said Dr. Price. “See your skin care professional for an annual skin exam to ensure that you are cancer-free.”

If you have questions about your skin health or would like to schedule your annual skin screen exam, please call at: 601.992.3996.

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