Do you know what the largest organ of our body is? If you know, perfect! But, if you don't know, that's okay too, we're here to learn, and that's exactly what we'll be talking about today. We will talk about taking care of it and being attentive to alarms and signals that it gives us daily.
The skin is our largest organ because it coats our entire body surface and acts as a protector. It serves as the first immune barrier of our body by ingesting microorganisms as its primary function. In addition to this, it has other functions such as allowing us to feel, regulating our temperature, assessing our health status, and helping with the diagnosis of certain diseases that manifest themselves through the skin, among others.
With this in mind, let's talk about Melanoma, skin-specific cancer that appears mainly because of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and other environmental and genetic factors. And, in awareness of Melanoma Monday, we decided to educate on the topic. MELANOMA MONDAY is a day created by the American Academy of Dermatology to raise awareness about skin cancer. Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer but with a good prognosis if diagnosed and treated early. So how do I prevent its appearance?
Use sunscreen daily, depending on the degree of exposure—for example, the higher the exposure, the higher the sunscreen application during the day.
Avoid the sun's rays between 11pm and 4pm. If you are exposed for long hours to the sun's rays, wear skin-protecting clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats, and sunglasses.
Avoid artificial tanning methods.
Moisturize your skin daily.
Inspect your skin daily for abnormalities.
Ask if there is anyone in your family who has skin cancer so you can get an early checkup.
If you are not sure how to check your skin for abnormalities, don't worry. We will give you the ABCDEs of Melanoma created by dermatologists to recognize moles or spots that appear on our skin as a cause of it.
Asymmetry: One half of the spot is unlike the other half.
Border: The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
Color: The mole has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.
Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
Evolution: The spot looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
Finally, remember, skin cancer is one of the few cancers you can see, so use your sunscreen daily and protect your skin!
Adira advisor, last year medicine student interested in women’s wellness and promoter of a healthy lifestyle. You can find more of her content on @karantina_col where you'll find recipes and tips to a better wellbeing.
What to look for: ABCDEs of melanoma. (2021). Retrieved 30 April 2021, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/find/at-risk/abcdes