Increasing cases of skin cancer, especially young women - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Increasing cases of skin cancer, especially young women

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A Heartland dermatologist said he's seeing an increased number of skin cancer cases, specifically Melanoma.

Dermatologist Chuck Moon works at Advanced Dermatology in Cape Girardeau.

He said they're seeing an increase in skin cancer, not just in elderly patients, but all genders and ages, especially the biggest increase in women 20-35 years old.

Moon said he usually sees the most skin cancer in older patients that have worked in construction or farming, or anything outside.

But he said now he's seeing an increase in skin cancer, specifically Melanoma in that young age group of women.

Moon said it could be for number of reasons excessive sun exposure, genetics, better detection, or intentional tanning, meaning tanning beds.

He said it's important to limit sun exposure.

"There's no safe amount of intentional sun exposure that we can recommend," said Moon.

Moon said 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from skin cancer at some point in their lifetime, and 1 in 55 from a case of Melanoma, which can be deadly.

"I'll be the first to admit that I was not very good about staying out of the sun when I was younger and you don't have to be a recluse and live in a cave, you can still be smart about the sun and have a good time, it's really that intentional seeking of the sun that we really have to watch out for," said Moon.

He said he wants to make sure young people know how problematic tanning can be.

"I'll be the first to admit tan skin looks great, most people like the look of it, but down the road you have multiple issues, the issue of skin cancer, potentially fatality from skin cancer, but also premature aging, premature wrinkles," said Moon.

Moon said there's a couple things you can look for to prevent skin cancer, the ABC's of skin cancer.

A for Asymmetry – If one half of your mole doesn't look like the other.

B for Boarder – If the edges of the mole are poorly defined

C for Color – If the mole varies in color

D for Diameter – If your mole is larger than a pencil eraser or 6 millimeters

E for Evolving – If your mole changes size, shape, or color.

Moon said it's important to get your moles checked out, because even the smallest of moles could lead to cancer.

"Skin cancer when it presents sometimes is very subtle, and you know a lot of times you may see something on the Internet when you Google Melanoma and you're going to see this horrific looking things and you're like well no one would miss that, but unfortunately those are the advanced cancers and that's, you know the kind of cat's out of the bag when they're that advanced, and that obvious, you really want to catch them when they're subtle and when they're early," said Moon.

Moon said there are three types of skin cancer.

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma – He said this is the most common type of skin cancer and develops on the skin level. He said it can grow, but usually doesn't do so quickly, and rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but should still be treated.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Moon said this cancer can be aggressive and spread to other parts of the body.

3. Melanoma – Moon said this type can be deadly. He said it develops in a mole or can appear as a dark spot on the skin.

According to the site, more than 2 million people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every year.

From 1967 to 2007, more people were treated for skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

On average, one person dies from Melanoma, every 57 minutes, and during the years between 1970 and 2009, Melanoma cases increased 8-fold for young women, and 400 percent for young men.

You can you find out more information at the American Academy of Dermatology at the link below.

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