Melanoma Monday: What one MD Anderson doctor wishes more people knew about this deadly cancer

HOUSTON – Nearly 100,000 people will be diagnosed with Melanoma this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

However, according to Dr. Susan Chon from MD Anderson, that might be an underestimation.

Here’s what she wishes more people knew about the deadly form of skin cancer:

While the average age of diagnosis is 65, Melanoma is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer for people aged 15 to 29.

“They are fairly healthy and don’t seem to have any problems so this is one of those areas where we have tried to make a lot more kind of headway in educating young people about sun protection and also just checking their skin,” Dr. Chon explained. “It can make a big difference if any of these skin cancers, especially Melanoma, are diagnosed early. The survival rate goes up significantly if you can find them and detect them sooner.”

Experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases Melanoma risk by 80 percent.

Dr. Chon said it’s important to do everything you can to prevent diagnosis, such as using a sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy, and wearing SPF clothing.

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body: eyes, scalp, nails, and feet,

Chon recommends you routinely self-check your skin to know what’s normal for you.

Take a look at this chart by MD Anderson to understand what’s abnormal: