skin cancer tips

Melanoma Rates Are Highest in Utah

Beaches, hot deserts, states closer to the equator. These are all factors you most likely associate when categorizing certain states as 'skin cancer hot spots'. You probably wouldn't include a snowy state in this particular category. Would you? 

According to a new report from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Utah (yes, Utah) has the highest incidences of skin cancer, specifically melanoma. 

The report, released this year, found Utah has the highest number of melanoma. The most recent date shows there were 42.3 cases per every 100,000 people in 2014. According to a news outlet, that's twice the national average


Researchers aren't too sure why Utah has the highest rates of melanoma. It could be because of elevation. It is easy to get a sunburn at higher altitudes because there is less of the earth's atmosphere to block the sunlight. According to WebMD, "UV exposure increases about 4% for every 1000 ft (305 m) gain in elevation." 

Even if you don't live in Utah, it's important to wear SPF daily -- and reapply every two hours. And, if you're hitting the ski slopes this season, don't forget to apply sunscreen on your face, body and lips. 


The ABCDE's of Melanoma

When it comes to melanoma, the world's most serious type of skin cancer, early detection is imperative. It can be cured if found and treated early.

Here are the types of skin markings on the body to look for in an easy way to remember we call, the ABCDE's of Melanoma. 

A- Asymmetrical Shape: Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B- Border: Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C- Color: The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D- Diameter: Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

E- Evolution: The evolution of your mole(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to diagnosing a melanoma. Knowing what is normal for you could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

Credit: Sunburn Alert Instagram

Credit: Sunburn Alert Instagram

If you see one or more of these markings on your skin, make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately. Catching melanoma early can make the difference between life and death. See your dermatologist regularly for skin screenings. 

Please note: Not all melanomas fall within the ABCDE parameters so visit your dermatologist regularly to catch any potential issues early.