Melanoma : What Your Doctor isn't Telling You

The incidence of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has -soared in recent years-probably-because of the thinning of the ozone layer and our more active, outdoor lifestyles.

As you may know, your chance of surviving melanoma hinges almost entirely on how early it is detected. Found early, melanoma has a cure rate approaching 100%. Once the cancer has burrowed deep into the skin, however, the odds of long-term survival are slim. Unfortunately, recent trends in the way doctors practice medicine may be making early detection of melanoma less likely.

Since you cannot count on your doctor to educate you about melanoma or do a careful ` screening of your skin, your best defense is to learn these things yourself. Here are the basics. Fair-skinned people are at greatest risk.

Melanoma in blacks is uncommon, though it does occur. Melanoma tends to run in families. Be especially vigilant at checking your skin if a close relative had it. Any mole "can become cancerous, but those present from birth are riskier.

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid exposure to sunlight. That's especially - important at midday, when ultraviolet (UV) radiation is peaking.

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