Time to check your skin for melanoma as summer ends

Most of the time melanomas come from moles on the skin, so it's critical to inspect your body.

Former president Jimmy Carter recently announced he is battling melanoma that has spread to his liver and brain. Melanoma is a cancer that starts in a certain type of skin cell. It's the deadliest form of skin cancer, but if caught early the cure rate is nearly 100 percent.

Now that summer is winding down, this might be the perfect time to do a double take and examine your own skin.

Dr. Brian Gastman treats melanoma at Cleveland Clinic. He says most of the time melanomas come from moles on the skin, so it's critical to inspect your body.

"Look at those funny brown things on your skin and see how large they are. Have they changed? Probably change is the most important thing, and change not only in width and diameter but also elevation," he says.

When should you be concerned? If a mole is bleeding, or if melanoma runs in your family your risk is greater for developing it. People with fair skin, blue or green eyes, and blonde or red hair are also at greater risk. Exposure to the sun and ultraviolet radiation also increases melanoma risk.

In men, melanoma tends to be on the trunk while women are more likely to have it on the arms and legs.

Most melanomas are black or brown, but they may also be skin-colored, pink, red or purple.

Dr. Gastman recommends checking your skin each month, especially if you had sunburns as a child.

"If you had a history of significant sunburning and skin damage be very extra vigilant and mindful of any changes and moles on your body," he says.

You can also learn the ABCDEs of melanoma, and check out a body mole map. --https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/melanoma/signs-symptoms

Keeping an eye on yourself is good, but the best bet is to go to a dermatologist once a year to geta full body check.

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