May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and we’ve teamed up with our partner, the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), to bring you some tips for staying safe in the sun and reducing your risk.
Why Melanoma Awareness Matters
When you think about skin cancer, you may not realize just how dangerous it is. In fact, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It’s expected that more than people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and approximately 1.3 million people live with melanoma in the U.S. right now.
However, most melanomas are thought to be preventable by reducing sun exposure and through early detection, which can stop melanoma from spreading to organs like the liver, lungs, bones and brain.
What is Melanoma?
This type of skin cancer occurs in the skin cells that produce melanin, called melanocytes. These are the same cells responsible for the moles on your skin (although most moles do not become melanoma).
About 90% of cutaneous melanoma (the most common type) can be linked to exposure to UV rays from the sun or indoor tanning beds. Genetics, family history, and environment can also play a role, especially in other types of melanoma that can’t be seen on the surface of the skin.
When detected early, many melanomas can be treated, and they are often visible on the skin.
Make an appointment to see your dermatologist as soon as possible if you notice any of these warning signs:
- A new spot on your skin, or a change in color, size or shape of an existing spot
- A mole or other spot on your skin that is painful and doesn’t heal
- A mole, sore or other spot that looks waxy, shiny, smooth or pale
- A spot that is rough, dry, or scaly and red
- A lump that is firm, red, and crusty
- A mole that is itchy or bleeds
- A dark spot or streak under a toenail or fingernail that didn’t result from trauma to the nail
Not all melanomas fit these descriptions, so it can be a good idea to have your dermatologist or primary care doctor take a look at any new or unusual spot on your skin, as well as conduct regular skin screenings.
Preventing skin cancer is the first defense. Protect yourself and your family with these skin care tips.
- Know the facts. Educate yourself and your loved ones so you can separate myth from fact when it comes to sun safety.
- Wear sunscreen anytime you are outside, even if it’s cloudy. Aim for sunscreen with SPF 30 that’s broad spectrum, meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Reapply sunscreen regularly. Sunscreen must be generously reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Avoid getting sunburned. Five or more blistering sunburns early in life increases melanoma risk by 80%.
- Stay away from indoor tanning. Research shows that it does not protect against sun damage, and that the more hours and years spent indoor tanning, the higher the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma and other types).
- Wear clothing that protects your skin. UV-protective clothing is a good idea, but you can also get protection from a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and wide-brimmed hat.
- Sport sunglasses whenever you’re outside. Just like sunscreen, always wear sunglasses, even if it’s cloudy. This can prevent ocular melanoma, or melanoma in or around the eye.
- Stay in the shade. Especially during the hours when the sun’s rays are strongest, between 10 am and 2 pm.
- Protect yourself around reflective environments. The reflective nature of water, snow and sand has a magnifying effect and can increase your chance of sun damage.
Join us for these events
Melanoma Awareness Month Kick-off Event
The MRF will be hosting its month-long Miles for Melanoma kick-off event on Saturday, May 1st, at 10:00 am ET on the MRF’s Facebook page. Tune in for messages from some special advocates and guests highlighting the importance of spreading awareness, sun safety and prevention.
The MRF’s #GetNaked campaign promotes the life-saving importance of melanoma early detection through monthly self-skin checks and an annual full body exam by a board-certified dermatologist. To learn more about melanoma and read inspiring melanoma survivor stories, visit the MRF's Facebook page, where the newest #GetNaked campaign model will be introduced on Monday, May 3rd at 10:00 am ET.
Unlock the Cure
The MRF is proud to launch their year-round Unlock the Cure community fundraiser. This virtual event is being hosted as part of the MRF’s 25th Anniversary and is an opportunity for you to help raise funds through the purchase of tickets for chances to win incredible prizes!
Panama Jack is donating an Ultimate Sun Safe basket to this anniversary event. Each ticket is just $25 and a maximum of just 1,000 will be sold. Purchase your Unlock the Cure tickets by Thursday, May 6th at 8:00 pm ET for a chance to win the Panama Jack basket Friday, May 7th.
Want to learn more? Visit the Melonoma Research Foundation’s Website.Stay protected year-round with Panama Jack’s full lineup of Broad Spectrum SPF sunscreen products.