ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — During the pandemic, many patients have put off appointments that were routine, like getting screened for skin cancer.
However, doctors are seeing more patients come in recently and get diagnosed with later stages of disease. On this Melanoma Monday, doctors want to encourage everyone to go get that skin exam. Florida ranks second in the nation for the number of new cases of melanoma.
“Growing up in Florida, being a native. My mom lubed me up with sunscreen as a child, but it wasn't enough,” Carole Fago says she still got Melanoma as an adult. “It was just a crazy realization that it could happen and it did.”
You might think that you'll only get skin cancer in places where you're exposed to the sun, but oncologists say that's a myth. Dr. Neeharika Makani is an oncologist. She says early detection at even pre-cancer stages can have a much better prognosis.
“Melanoma can actually present on any part of our body—on the soles of our feet, the palms of our hand, inside of our mouths, sometimes inside of our esophagus, as well as in between our toes, in between our fingers, our genitalia so it is really important to be very diligent if you see anything abnormal, even in an unusual space or place on the body to make sure you talk to your doctor about it,” Makani said.
There are some ABCs when it comes to detecting changes.
A is for asymmetry — one-half of the spot is unlike the other half.
B is for border — it has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C is for color — varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red or blue.
We have more of those alphabet signs to look for skin cancer here.
Here’s a link to help your favorite non-profit build some shade to help people stay out of the sun.