Melanoma Monday Date in the current year: May 6, 2024

Melanoma Monday Melanoma Monday is observed annually on the first Monday of May, kicking off National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This awareness campaign was launched to spread information about the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the ways to reduce the risk of developing melanoma.

Melanoma is one of the three main types of skin cancers, the other two being basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma of the skin. It develops from melanocytes – skin cells that produce the skin pigment melanin. The primary cause of melanoma is exposure to UV radiation; about 25% of melanomas develop from preexisting moles.

Early signs of melanoma are changes to the shape, color, or size of existing moles. They can be summarized by the mnemonic ABCDE:

  • Asymmetrical shape
  • Borders (irregular)
  • Color (dark pigmentation, typically with variations)
  • Diameter (greater than 6 mm)
  • Evolving over time

The most aggressive form of melanoma, called nodular melanoma, manifests itself somewhat differently. Its early signs include the appearance of a new lump and can be summarized by the EFG rule:

  • Elevated
  • Firm to touch
  • Growing rapidly

With early detection and treatment, melanoma has a good prognosis; five-year survival rates for localized melanoma in the United States are 99%. The most common treatment for localized melanoma is surgical removal. However, survival rates are lower when cancer has metastasized to lymph nodes or other organs. In such cases, treatment usually includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy in addition to surgery.

The good news is that while melanoma isn’t 100% preventable, there are ways to significantly reduce the risk of its development. You should protect your skin from UV rays any way you can (apply sunscreen to open areas of your body even when it’s cloudy outside and reapply it throughout the day, wear a wide-brimmed hat in summer, avoid tanning beds, etc.) and regularly check your skin for abnormal moles. If you find a mole that hasn’t been there before or notice that one of your moles has gotten bigger, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Melanoma Monday was founded by the American Academy of Dermatology, the world’s largest and most influential dermatological association that unites more than 20,500 physicians around the globe. The main goals of this annual campaign are to raise awareness of the dangers of melanoma, encourage people to get screened for skin cancer, and share tips on skin cancer prevention.

There are many ways to participate to Melanoma Monday. You can learn more about melanoma and other skin cancers and share the facts you’ve learned with others, wear black to raise melanoma awareness or orange to raise skin cancer awareness, perform a self-exam and schedule a skin cancer screening if you find a suspicious mole, commit to applying sunscreen every time you go outside, and spread the word on social media using the hashtag #MelanomaMonday. If you’re a melanoma survivor, consider sharing your story online to show melanoma patients that they are not alone and give them hope.

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Melanoma Monday, awareness day, melanoma awareness, skin cancer awareness. American Academy of Dermatology