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Melanoma Awareness Month: What to watch for in your skin

May is the unofficial start to summer and Melanoma Awareness Month. What better way to jump into the season than by making sure your skin is protected from the sun so you can enjoy yourself? The sun’s damaging rays not only cause sunburn and wrinkles but can also lead to skin cancer, the most dangerous of which is melanoma. Be smart about your skin, and know what to look out for before you hit the beach.

When detected early, skin cancer can almost always be cured. So, the good news is that you can be proactive by checking your skin monthly and visiting a dermatologist yearly for a full body check. If you notice any suspicious spots or changes in moles, don’t wait — head to your doctor. Melanoma can spread quickly and metastasize to other parts of your body if left untreated. Be on the look out for asymmetry, color changes, larger moles, and moles with irregular borders. 

If your doctor thinks a mole should be removed, he will do an in-office procedure by numbing the location and cutting out the suspicious spot for a biopsy. If the biopsy comes back as irregular or melanoma, you will need further extraction and stitches. The site of your stitches will be painful for awhile. The area should be kept covered and moistened. After stitches are removed and the site has healed, apply Milkweed Balm to help soothe the muscles surrounding the wound. 

Protect yourself from the sun’s dangerous rays by wearing a hat, applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and seeking the shade when possible. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours!