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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Melanoma: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Cancers and Tumors


Alternate Names : Skin Cancer (Melanoma)

Melanoma | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the disease?

Skin cancer rates are rising. Preventive measures explained below may help to decrease skin cancer risk.

  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M., when ultraviolet radiation (sunlight) is most intense.
  • Do not try to tan if your skin burns easily.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. The SPF, or sun protection factor, indicates how much longer you can stay in the sun before getting burned.
  • Use sunscreens that protect against both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) light.
  • Reapply water-resistant sunscreens after swimming, if sweating heavily, as well as every 2 hours during periods of sun exposure.
  • Use a lip balm with a sunscreen.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves and a hat. Keep in mind that up to 50% of ultraviolet rays can penetrate loosely woven clothing.
  • Avoid the use of sun lamps or commercial tanning booths.
  • Do a regular skin self-exam in a well-lighted room using a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror. Check all areas of the skin, including the scalp, back, between the buttocks, and the genital area.
  • Teach children ways to protect their skin for life.
  • Early detection and treatment of melanoma is also critical. Melanoma can be cured if treated while the tumor is thin and superficial. Advanced, thick, deep tumors are more difficult to control and can spread to other parts of the body. People at higher risk of melanoma may be advised to have checkups more frequently. The healthcare provider may take photos of a person's skin to help in detecting changes that occur over time.

    What are the long-term effects of the disease?

    Melanoma left untreated is fatal. The prognosis for people who receive treatment for melanoma is affected by many factors, including the person's general condition, response to treatment, and extent of disease. The person's healthcare provider is in the best position to explain what can be expected in each situation.

    Concerns over psychological, emotional, and financial problems are common for those with cancer. Help is available from healthcare providers, social workers, and others for those in need.

    What are the risks to others?

    Melanoma is not contagious and poses no risk to others.

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    Melanoma: Diagnosis & Tests


    Melanoma: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Miriam P. Rogers, EdD, RN, AOCN, CNS
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 08/23/01

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