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May is Melanoma Awareness Month

As New Jersey residents get ready for the upcoming summer season, they might want to be aware of some information about melanoma, a rare but serious form of skin cancer. May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and some tips from a dermatology expert could help people to be safe.

Early detection is the key to surviving melanoma, according to a professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. When the rare skin cancer is detected early, the cure rate is 94 to 100 percent. But if melanoma spreads to other areas of the body, it is usually fatal. The rate of survival is only 20 percent for melanoma that has metastasized.

The disease is the most common type of cancer in females in their 20s and 30s, but the likelihood of getting it increases with age. In women it most often occurs on the legs, and in men it most common on the back. Though caused by sun exposure, melanoma can occur on the bottom of the feet, on the scalp or in the eyes.

The Baylor professor says that using sunscreen and wearing sun-protecting clothing is important for everyone, including children. She recommends sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30, and suggests increased protection with laundry detergents that give sun protection to clothing or sun protection body wash that can be used in the shower.

Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer, representing only about 1 percent of skin cancer cases but being the cause of a majority of skin cancer deaths. Individuals can provide protection for themselves and their children, but people rely on medical professionals for proper detection. A failure to diagnose melanoma could result in a worsened medical condition that could prove fatal. The family members of someone who has died as a result of such a doctor error may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what options they might have.

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