Melanoma can be deadly, but you can fight back. Learn how screening by a doctor or dermatologist—or even by you—may help save your life. And learn how you can help prevent melanoma from developing in the first place.
It's pretty simple, really. The earlier melanoma is found, the easier it is to treat. The 5-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected before it has spread to the lymph nodes is 98%.
But the 5-year survival rates for melanoma that has spread to the lymph nodes (regional stage) or beyond (distant stage) drop to 62% and 15%, respectively. Find a dermatologist today. Call and get screened. Finding melanoma early can make all the difference.
Here are instructions from the Melanoma Research Foundation about how to do a self-exam. Follow the steps they provide.
During your routine health check-up, ask your primary care doctor to examine your skin carefully. You should also have your skin examined by a dermatologist, who has additional experience in identifying melanomas. You can find a dermatologist in your area by visiting the screening page.
Free skin cancer screenings can be found in many states. Visit the screening page to see if there is going to be a free screening somewhere near you.
Of course, no one can completely avoid sun exposure. But there are ways to reduce your risk.
I'm Coach Bill Cowher. But this web site's not about me. It's about you. And the simple steps you can take to protect yourself against melanoma. So here's what I want you to do. Punch in your info so we can learn about possible risks for your neighborhood. Then you and I are going to go over the game plan: Screen, Protect, Know, and Tell. Let's do this. Right now.
It's me again, Coach Bill Cowher. Here's the thing about melanoma. Everyone is at risk for developing it. If caught early and treated properly, it's almost always curable. Catch it late, it gets much harder to treat in advanced stages. But you're not going to let that happen, are you? Because you're going to follow my game plan for you.
One. Melanoma has a 5-year survival rate of 98% if you catch and treat it early enough. So I want you to check out the screening page. Finding melanoma early can change the game. It's so simple, there's no reason you shouldn't be doing this. So do it.
Two. Watch a film with my thoughts about melanoma. Why? Only one reason. I want your family to avoid what my family went through. Approximately 8,700 Americans die annually from melanoma. Take action now so that doesn't happen to you.
Three. See this? This info can expose the danger you and your family face every day. You should know this stuff.
Four. Approximately 70,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with melanoma. If they discover it early enough and it's treated properly, they have a high chance of survival. So see if any of your friends are at risk and shoot them a heads up.
Five. I'm a little competitive. I like to win games. So I'll be your coach on Goalpost Avenue so you can beat your friends. Hey, you might even learn something.
Okay, I've mapped out these plays. Now you follow the game plan against melanoma.
Team Melanoma Exposed is participating in the Race Across America.Support the team »
Melanoma Exposed™ is a partnership effort sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, designed to educate the American public about melanoma and encourage them to take a more active role in their skin health. Screen, Protect, Know, and Tell.
I am a 40 year old female that lives with the constant fear of melanoma and here's why. When I was a child - too young to really remember - my mother had a mole on her upper arm that turned out to be Stage 4 melanoma. I don't remember much about it but I do remember the long trips for her treatment. Thankfully my mother survived but has a terrible large scar on her arm that she's kept hidden all my life. Now back then there was not a lot of awareness about this cancer but in my family, my mother was the spokesperson. As my sisters and I got older, she would constantly be on us about using sunscreen, stay out of the sun, etc. But I did not listen. When I was 20 I started going to a tanning bed quite regularly during the summer. Why? So I would not burn in the sun. I was not happy unless I had that deep, dark tan and would just ignore my mother's warnings. At about age 34 I was still doing the same routine: start tanning around February and continue until about August with being in the sun in between. One day my son noticed a tiny black spot on my upper arm, actually thinking I had something stuck on my arm. When I looked at it I had that sinking feeling that it was not good. It was about the size of the tip of an ink pen and completely black. I immediately scheduled an appointment at the dermatologist (I'd never been before). They removed it and sent it off, soon receiving confirmation that it was indeed melanoma. The tiny black spot then turned into a 3" wide, 4" long incision with all the tissue underneath removed. Luckily, they did get it all. Along with that, I have many other little scars from other potentially deadly moles. I attribute the early detection to the fact that my mother had it and I knew what to look for. Had it not been so, it may have been too late when I discovered it. Looking back, I do wish I had listened to my mother. My fear is that with such a vain world in which we live, where tanning is so important to people, I just don't know what it will take for them to listen. I warn people but it still doesn't make them think twice about protecting their skin. Unfortunately, it took having melanoma for me to listen. I don't hide my scar; I want people to ask me about it so I can tell them my story.
If your story is chosen, we'll be in touch.
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