Our Education Program

Our Education Program is responsible for providing our community with knowledge about melanoma, the most common cancer in young adults ages 25-29.

We share facts about melanoma including risk factors, prevention and detection technique. And we do our best educate all those who will listen about the dangers of skin cancer in order to protect all members of our community from the dangers of melanoma. Knowledge is power and knowledge can save lives.


Know the facts…

  • Melanoma is not just skin cancer. It can develop anywhere on the body – eyes, scalp, nails, feet, mouth, etc.
  • Melanoma does not discriminate by age, race or gender. Everyone is at risk.
  • Today, there are nearly 1 million people living with Melanoma in the U.S.
  • Exposure to tanning beds before age 30 increases a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75%.
  • Nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by exposure to UV light and sunlight.
  • The lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 1 in 40 in Caucasians, 1 in 200 for Hispanics, and 1 in 1,000 for African Americans.
  • Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S
  • Young people who regularly use tanning beds are 8 times more likely to develop melanoma than people who have never used them.
  • Melanoma is a skin cancer that starts in melanocytes (cells that make melanin), which give skin its pigment, or color. Sometimes these cells change, often because of damage caused by sun exposure. Over time, this damage may result in cancer.
  • Melanoma usually appears as an irregular brown, black and/or red spot or as an existing mole that begins to change color, size or shape.

The different types of melanoma…

Melanoma is divided into several types. The treatment and outlook for each is different.


Cutaneous Melanoma

There are four major types of cutaneous melanoma:

Superficial spreading melanoma:

  • Most common melanoma type
  • About 70% of cases
  • Usually starts in a pre-existing mole

Nodular melanoma:

  • Second most common melanoma type
  • 15% to 30% of cases
  • More aggressive and usually develops quicker than superficial spreading melanomas

Lentigo maligna melanoma: 

  • Appears as large, flat lesions
  • Most commonly found on the faces of light-skinned women over 50
  • 4% to 10% of cases
  • Lower risk of spreading than other melanoma types

Acral lentiginous melanoma:

  • Occurs on the palms, soles of the feet or beneath the nail beds
  • 2% to 8% of melanomas in fair-skinned patients
  • Up to 60% of melanomas in darker-skinned patients
  • Large, with an average diameter of 3 centimeters

Mucosal Melanoma 

  • About 1% of melanoma cases
  • Occurs in mucosal tissue, which lines body cavities and hollow organs
  • Most common sites are head and neck region (including the nasal cavity, mouth and esophagus), rectum, urinary tract and vagina
  • Can be very difficult to detect
  • Even when diagnosed and treated, prognosis is often poor

Ocular Melanoma

The eyes contain melanocytes and they can be susceptible to melanoma.

  • Uveal Melanoma – found within the iris, culinary body or uvea.
  • Conjunctival Melanoma – can masquerade for months or more as a red spot on the eye or as focal conjunctivitis.

ABCDE’s of Melanoma

Monthly skin checks are an important part of prevention and self care, and one knows your body better than you. Here is an example of what you look for…
ABCDE's of Melanoma
A – Asymmetry: One half is unlike the other half.
B – Border: Irregular, or poorly defined border.
C – Color: Varied from one area to another, shades of tan, brown, black or even red or blue.
D – Diameter: Melanoma are usually greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser) but they can be smaller.
E -Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different than the rest, or is changing in size, shape, or color.
Monthly self skin checks are so important. Make note of every spot, freckle, and mole. Look for changes or new spots and use the above as a guide. And when doubt, go get it checked out!

Do you use protection?

One in five people will develop skin cancer. Yes, one in five! Skin cancer doesn’t care what age, what gender, or what ethnicity you are. A whopping 86 percent of Melanoma skin cancers are associated with UV radiation from the sun. In other words, if you’re in the sun, use protection!

No matter what you are doing outside; walking your pet, watching a baseball game, or running in our upcoming Beca’s Five race don’t forget the sunscreen.

Here are some sun safety tips!

  • Seek the shade. Especially between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Do not let yourself burn. Your chances of developing Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, doubles when you’ve had multiple (5 or more) burns over the years.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. You are 74 times more likely, let that sink in for a minute, 74 times more likely to develop Melanoma than those that have never tanned indoors. So, don’t do it!
  • Cover up. We know you have an amazing new swimsuit, but limit your exposure to the sun and cover up during those peak hours. Long sleeves, long pants, hats, and don’t forget the sunglasses!
  • Use sunscreen. A broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) with an SPF 15 or higher. If you are going to be outdoors for extended times or in the water, go with an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure to apply sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes prior to going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Get to know your body. Be aware of all of your freckles, moles, and spots. Exam your skin, head to toe, every month. If you notice any changes in existing moles or a spot that is not healing, go see your physician immediately.
  • Remember, your dermatologist is your friend. Go see them every year and discuss your body together.
    Be aware, show you care, and take time to share this information with those you love.

Together we can educate, together we can provide hope, and together we can save lives.

For more information about prevention and detection or educational events we will be at please contact Tena Harjoe

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