This article has been syndicated to Her Campus from Defining Danie by Danie Minor, a Her Campus Blogger Network member.
Skin cancer is something I have become increasingly passionate about.
When I was going into 10th grade, I was diagnosed with atypical nevi. What does that mean? It means that I had moles that were genetically predisposed to melanoma. I had to have surgery to remove the area of skin. They numbed my back and I was awake during the entire procedure. I was so nervous for the procedure that my mom sat in the surgery with me (I don’t know how she was able to stomach watching them cut into my back). I left that surgery that day with somewhere around 250 stitches.
Here is a picture of my scars on my back from when I had surgery. This was taken today.
You can only imagine the pain of that surgery.
Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for teens and young adults ages 15-29 (SO scary, right?!), however it is one of the most preventable and curable! But just because it is one of the most curable, that does not mean that you should go and start tanning because your risk goes up by 59% for melanoma after the first time using a tanning bed before the age of 35.
Instead, what you should do is go and sign the Your Skin Is In pledge campaign launched by the Melanoma Foundation of New England. This pledge is to promise to protect your skin because later in your life you don’t want to have to go through surgeries that leave you with 250 stitches.
Do you know if you’re at risk for melanoma?
- Being a white male over the age of 50
- Having other family members who have had melanoma
- Having atypical nevi (what I had when I was in 10th grade)
- Being born with mole(s)
- Ultravioliet (UV) light exposure (tanning in a bed and outdoors)
UV lights are: UVA, UVB and UVC. UCV rays are the most harmful to us. But not to worry! They are blocked by our ozone layer, so they can’t reach us.
This does not mean that UVA and UVB are not harmful though. UVB rays are what causes sunburn and UVA rays are what causes tanning. Both of these cause skin cancer though.
So basically… the more you tan and burn, the greater your chances for skin cancer are!
The Your Skin Is In Campaign will begin in January 2016 but you can take the pledge NOW. I did, so you should too!
If you are worried about your exposure to the sun or a tanning bed, you should look for the ABCDE signs for skin cancer. The signs are the characteristics how a mole can change!
A- Asymmetrical Shape
*E- Evolution (How the mole has changed over time)
Evolution is the most important for catching skin cancer before it can lead to melanoma! Another reason to want to protect your skin aside from skin cancer is we don’t want wrinkles sooner than we have to! ;) Go take the pledge now! For more information on Melanoma and the Your Skin Is campaign visit: www.Yourskinisin.org