A is for ACRAL LENTIGINOUS malignant Melanoma, which claimed the life of Bob Marley…
A rarer type of melanoma that will usually occur on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet but can also develop around a nail, most commonly the thumbnail or big toenail.
Acral lentiginous melanomas are the most common type of melanoma in people with dark skin. Although, this is not to say that it is only people with dark skin, people with any skin type can get acral lentiginous melanoma.
B is for basal cell carcinoma (BCC).
Basal cell carcinoma often (but not always) appear on parts of the body exposed to the sun.
Although rarely invasive, it is important to recognise the signs for early detection, as BCC’s can be incredibly disfiguring.
Hugh Jackman recently had surgery for his 6th basal cell on his nose.
C is for cancer …with no ‘JUST’ before it!
So many times we hear the words ‘it’s just skin cancer’ but for all those effected, we know there’s no ‘just’ about it!
D is for Diagnosis.
A diagnosis of melanoma is just the beginning of a terrifying and bumpy journey.
Hearing those words “I’m sorry it’s not good news.” “You have cancer” is one of the worst things a person can hear…
The fear, anxiety the aftermath. Waiting for results, scans, surgeries, treatments, appointments…
Having to be vigilant and one step ahead of this clever, sneaky disease.
Having to be eternally optimistic, when sometimes we need to be scared, anxious or uncertain.
Having to convince people that this is a “real cancer” because we were the lucky ones…right?
E is for Evolution…
Which when using the ABCDE model to check your skin for suspicious lesions, is the only consistent one.
Cancer progresses, so anything on your skin that just appears, grows/ shrinks or changes colour, has a change of sensation, changes texture or bleeds is a red flag for melanoma.
F is for Finding it early.
For those who have their melanoma caught early have over a 95%, 5 year survival rate. Compared to…
Around 50% stage 3 and…
Stage 4 which stands at around 25% for women and 10% for men.
Still think it’s ‘Just’ skin cancer?
Early detection is vital… learn how to spot signs… and remember that melanoma does not always tick the boxes for the ABCD rule. They may appear as an ugly duckling, an itch in the skin and It does not always appear as a mole.
If you would like to know more about spotting the signs or you would like us to get involved with your school, workplace or salon – please get in touch
G is for Gambling…
Because that’s what you’re doing when you’re sunbathing unprotected and using tanning beds. You’re gambling with your life!
EVERYONE is at risk of melanoma and almost 90% cases are caused by UVR, making skin cancer and melanoma cancer one of (if not the) most preventable cancer.
We can’t eliminate the sun from the sky and let’s be honest, why would we want to? But there are steps we can do to reduce our risks of developing skin cancer…
🦋Use a high factor SPF sunscreen with 4*+ UVA and reapply, reapply, reapply.
🦋Wear long, loose, closely woven fabric,
🦋Seek shade between the house of 11-3 when the UV is strongest (this may be different abroad)
🦋Wear hats with a wide brim
🦋DO NOT USE SUNBEDS https://www.facebook.com/Sunbed-Ban-UK-346501325449525/
H is for HAIR, HEAD and HAIR FOLLICLES
So as we’ve already discovered melanoma can travel to any organ. The only place it can’t travel to is the hair and the teeth (however it can still grow on hair follicles).
Men are most likely to get melanoma on their head or trunk and the reasons for this is because the head is the first point of contact for UV Rays. Also hair makes it more difficult to apply sunscreen to the head and if the hair is thinning it is likely to make UV exposure a lot easier.
Our work with hairdressers and people in the beauty industry have brought about 9 diagnosis of skin cancer, which is bittersweet in that a diagnosis is terrifying but luckily most have been discovered early.
It’s so important for people to know what they are looking for and all welcome on our certified courses if interested.
I is for IGNORANCE and ignorance is not bliss! But we also can’t say people are ignorant if they aren’t aware of the real facts of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Supposedly what is classed as ‘hilarious’ pictures are often circulated on social media etc. which show images of peoples sunburn. This is proof that awareness is desperately needed …if those same people posting and laughing were educated in what damage sunburn can do, then maybe those pictures and laughter would cease. This years burn could equal next years skin cancer. There is nothing funny about melanoma. It is a deadly disease with incidence rates skyrocketing.
J is for Journey – as a patient, family member or friend, the impact of a melanoma/skin cancer diagnosis can be devastating. With everyone having their own experiences, yet at the same time mirroring what others are going through. You may find there’s those around you who just don’t understand, may be dismissive, uncaring and disrespectful, others supportive and empathetic. Managing the physical scars is one thing, the mental scar is another. But
you’re not on you journey alone – MelanomaMe. is here to walk alongside you by offering our free counselling and support or even if you’d just like a chat and a cuppa ♥️
Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us if you would like our support – we are here for you all
K is for knowledge – we can’t say people are ignorant to the dangers of UV damage and the severity of skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma if there is no awareness out there. We’ve seen those recent post with jokes about sunburn! This needs to change and we are confident we are making those changes through our SPF 5* Awards. Where we are reaching out to Workplaces, The Beauty Health & Wellbeing Industry, Schools, Learning Institutions, Sports & Leisure, Care in the Community and the Homeless.
Not forgetting the impact your own journeys have on our page, by sharing your stories in a bid to also raise awareness and we thank you all for your bravery in doing so ♥️
L is for living with melanoma – anyone affected by melanoma will know only to well that this isn’t an easy road. Just because you may look OK doesn’t mean you are! That saying, ‘its been cut out now, so you’re OK’, couldn’t be further from the truth.
Anxiety, fear, uncertainty… are what those affected with melanoma may be dealing with.
So yes they may need counselling, yes they will need time off work, yes they may need support – You only get it when you get it!
N is for Nodular melanoma. A nodular melanoma does not always follow the abcd rule, as it can be perfectly round with no blurred boarders. It can be one colour and be smaller than 6mm. A nodular will follow the E for evolution and our own F for firm. With a Nodular melanoma it will grow out as well as down, given that it only has to penetrate around 1mm before it has access to the lymphatic system and blood stream, it is vital for early detection, as this is an aggressive form of melanoma.
O for Ocular melanoma – it’s not only our skin we need to protect from UVR, we also need to protect our eyes! So yes we wear sunscreen, hats, closely weaved fabrics, and we go in the shade but remember those sun glasses with UVA protection.
P is for Paediatric melanoma.
Although rare, children can and do get melanoma. It can present different to what it does in adults and occur at any age although more common in females between the ages of 15-19.
Paediatric Melanoma is not always called by UVR in younger children but in older, adolescents is mostly caused by exposure in the same way that adults is.
Q is for a Question as to why sunbeds are not banned given the dangers. Come on uk, follow Australia and ban them! Sunbeds give out harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that damages your skin. Your DNA’s skin cells can also be damaged from a sunbeds UV rays, this damage can build up over time to cause skin cancer.
Marketing sometimes indicates Sunbeds can be used as a ‘controlled way’ of getting a ‘safer tan’. Actually, sunbeds are no safer than exposure to the sun itself and using a sunbed before you go on holiday doesn’t protect you against further damage from the sun.
(International Agency for Research on Cancer) agrees there is sufficient evidence to show that using sunbeds causes melanoma skin cancer, the most serious form. They also state that sunbeds provide no positive health benefits. Combining the results of studies on sunbeds and cancer shows that using a sunbed increases melanoma risk by 16-20%.
R is for Risk – although 14% of malignant melanoma diagnosis is linked to genetic, immune and other factors. 86% is down to UV damage. This is a high level of preventability and one that can hopefully be reduced by raising awareness.
S is for Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – SCC is a non-melanoma skin cancer which is currently the 2nd most common skin cancer in the UK. Predominantly caused by UV radiation from the sun and sunbeds. SCC’s are commonly found on the areas of the body mainly exposed to the sun eg. head, neck and hands (including ears and lips). Although, SCC’s can also be found on any part of the body.
T is for Talking about melanoma & skin cancer and Talking therapy – only way we can raise awareness is to talk. Sharing stories gets people to see the severity and to understand the impact it has from patient to their loved ones. Talking educates from the very young through to the older generation. If we don’t talk we can’t listen, if we don’t listen we’ll never learn!
Our Talking therapy is offered to everyone affected by melanoma and skin cancer, whether patient or loved one, as everyone has their own journey. You are not alone and we understand the difficulties not only physically but certainly mentally a melanoma and skin cancer diagnosis can have.
To access our free counselling and support service drop us an inbox or email: email@example.com ♥️
U is for Ultraviolet (UV) radiation – skin cancer is a predominately preventable cancer if we protect ourselves from overexposure to UV radiation – the sun being a natural UV radiation and sunbeds an artificial UV radiation. It is important to protect ourselves from both UVA and UVB rays, as this not only causes ageing and wrinkles but can cause melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer and non melanoma skin cancers (Basel & Squamous cell carcinoma).
UVA radiation penetrates and damages the deeper layers of the skin which affects it’s elasticity, promoting wrinkles, ageing and also potentially leading to skin cancer. UVA can also penetrate glass if the glass has no UVA filter.
UVB radiation damages the outer layers of the skin causing the sunburn and skin cancers, especially malignant melanoma.
It is also important to know what to look out for in a sunscreen.
Tips to buying sunscreen: SPF only measures protection against UVB And it is a myth that SPF 30 will protect you twice as much as SPF 15, this is NOT true!
Fact: SPF 15 absorbs 93% UVB
SPF 30 absorbs 97% UVB,
SPF 50 absorbs 98% UVB
The UVA is measured by a star rating, ranging from 1-5, 5 being a ultra protection.
The best protection is a high SPF (30-50) and high star rating (5 minimum 4). Both UVA and UVB are equally as important when buying sunscreen and not all expensive brands are the best, in fact a lot of the shops home brand ones have a very high level of protection.
Tancream is also a self tanning sunscreen with an SPF 50 and UVA rating of 5 stars.
Sunscreen in one form of defence, other forms of defence are:
1. seeking shade in he hours of 11am-3pm (UK) other countries may vary.
2. Wear a wide brim hat
3. Wear sunglasses with UVA protection
4. Wear closely woven fabric clothes – preferably covering as much skin as possible.
MelanomaMe UV wristbands and also UV apps are also a good indication if UV levels are high.
Stay safe ♥️
V is for Vigilance – early detection is the key! Regularly check our bodies thoroughly from scalp to foot, even in the areas the sun doesn’t shine. Melanoma won’t come and tap on the shoulder to let you know it’s there. Therefore, it’s important that we are vigilant and get into the habit of checking our bodies and have someone who can also monitor those place we can’t see i.e backs and scalp. The Beauty, health and wellbeing industry are in a prime position for this, and is the reason we are working with them by providing our SPF 5* Awards.
What to look for: unfortunately there isn’t that one image out there that we can look at to compare. We can have something that ticks the boxes of the ABCD rule and turn out not to be melanoma. Yet we also know melanoma can quash the ABCD rule and be symmetrical, have clear defined boarders, have one colour and be less than 6mm. So the important message is E for evolution, as a melanoma will always change. We also added G, F and S as these are equally as important to look out for. G growing, F firm and S for sensation – itch, sore, tingling.
Follow your gut instinct and if something doesn’t seem right or someone flags something up on you, please get it checked.
You’re not wasting the GP or the dermatologists time but by doing so could save your life!
W is for a wish – a wish that malignant melanoma no longer existed!
A wish that there was a cure.
A wish that the statistics of melanoma would be dramatically reduced …this is one wish we hopefully can make happen! MelanomaMe. will do our very best to raising awareness through our SPF 5* Awards in the workplace, beauty health and well-being industry, sports & leisure, schools, care and the community and learning institutions. Targeting everyone from pregnant mothers to the elderly by raising awareness of melanoma, informing people of the dangers of sunbed use and promoting sun safety. We are making these changes through the generosity of everyone’s support – and what amazing support we are receiving ♥️
X is part of existential – existentialism is one element that may be explored within counselling sessions, which are provided free to all those affected by melanoma or other skin cancers. Existentialism explores choice …what we accept, think, feel, reject or how we may behave. Existentialism is not about focusing on the past but more to do with what’s happening in the here and now. Unfortunately we can’t change a melanoma or skin cancer diagnosis (if only), but counselling may raise a clients awareness and it is this awareness of who ‘I am’ and what ‘I am doing at this moment’ that can prompt change and choices.
If anyone affected by melanoma or other skin cancers whether patient or their loved one would like to access our free counselling service please inbox us or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Y is for Young people and melanoma –
Statistically as we age the chances of getting melanoma increases. However there are more young adults aged between 25-29 being diagnosed with melanoma than any other cancer and ages 15-29 – the 2nd most common.
Young females are more likely to get melanoma than leukaemia.
The incidence in people under the age of 30 developing Melanoma is faster than any other demographic group.
In children melanoma’s can have a different appearance to that of adults, and grows thicker faster. They often presents as a wart-like spot that are white, yellow or pink.
The most common symptoms of Melanoma in children include:
A bump on the skin that itches or bleeds.
A lesion on the skin, which may not be black or darkly pigmented as in adults. Odd-looking moles, especially larger ones. Moles that look different than a child’s other moles.
In adults melanoma is the rarest of the 3 skin cancers and although rare in children, they are more likely to develop melanoma than basal or squamous cell carcinoma.
Prevention and early detection is vital when it comes to melanoma with any age group, but in children, melanoma is much more aggressive, so its important to protect our babies skin from as early as birth.
Z is for Zinc- zinc oxide is a mineral used in some sunscreens.
Inorganic chemicals, including minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, acts as a physical sunblock that reflects UV rays used in some sunscreens. These reflect or scatter the UV rays away from the skin.
Along with inorganic chemicals, sunscreens often contain organic chemicals. These are avobenzone or oxybenzone. Instead of physically deflecting UV light, these molecules absorb UV rays through their chemical bonds. As the bonds absorb UV rays, the components of the sunscreen slowly break down and release heat.
SPF on sunscreen bottles stands for Sun Protection Factor, referring to how well the sunscreen protects against UVB – B for burn. UVB rays cause sunburn and several types of skin cancer.
There is another type of UV to look out for which is UVA. This penetrates deeper into the skin and can cause premature wrinkling, age spots and can also heighten the risk for skin cancer.
Meaning the best protection is SPF 30/50 and UVA 5 star (min 4)
Further info: https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb