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Melanoma Awareness Day

Simple ways to screen yourself

Melanoma Monday

Idaho Falls, IDAHO - The first Monday in May is known as "Melanoma Monday." It is a national day of awareness for skin cancer.

Monday, High Valley Dermatology in Idaho Falls offered free skin cancer screenings.

There are a lot of different types of skin cancer, but melanoma is the deadliest. Every hour one person dies from Melanoma in the United States.

On a warm spring day with only a few clouds in the sky, soaking up the sun seems like a good idea, but Idaho has the the seventh-highest death rate from melanoma.

"What makes sense would be a lot for light-colored skin, high elevation, a lot of fun things to do outside, farming. You put that all together and you get skin cancer," said Dr. Lindsay Sewell.

Sewell and his team at High Valley Dermatology are teaching people about melanoma.

"It's really treatable, that's why we like the screenings, you catch it early it's not a problem. Once it's invasive, beyond a millimeter it has a chance to spread," said Sewell.

Doctors use a tool, called a derm light which acts like a magnifying glass to see if your moles need a biopsy.

Dr. Sewell suggests screening at home by checking moles using the "A,B,C,D, E, Method."

It stands for asymmetry, irregular borders, one or more colors, diameter which should be no bigger than a pencil eraser, and check if your mole has evolved or changed shape over time.

"If you see something suspicious with melanoma would sometimes asymmetry, have uneven edges or irregular borders, two or more colors and be bigger than a quarter of an inch or six millimeters," said Sewell.

Sewell says the best way to protect yourself from melanoma is being smart when you are outside.

"If I'm going to go to the lake or the beach I try to protect myself. Use a lot of sunscreen, hats, shades and I try to avoid the sun if I can from 10 a.m to 4 p.m." said Sewell.

Sewell said getting a tan in a tanning bed also puts you at risk for melanoma.

Even though melanoma it is the deadliest of skin cancers, if caught before it has gotten too deep, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent.

If you're concerned about getting vitamin D, the recommended amount is 600 units which can easily be obtained from a supplement.

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