Cleveland Clinic doctors offering prevention and treatment facts during 'Melanoma Monday'

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Doctors declare this as "Melanoma Monday."

They're trying to call attention to the most common form of skin cancer.

Melanoma is also the deadliest form of skin cancer.

It's preventable and treatable, if caught early.

"Skin Cancers in general are on the rise. If you look at stats for instance, one in five Americans in their life will develop a skin cancer," said Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Lucas.

Lucas has seen many cases of skin cancer, but her patient, Crystal Sgro, is unique.

"I got diagnosed with Melanoma about six years ago. I was in my early 30's. I had two of my three kids at the time and hadn't ever gotten a skin check," said Sgro.

Sgro says she was initially surprised, but realized her behavior may have been to blame.

"Because I was as negligent as I was in my teens and 20's, I've had a lot of other skin cancers since then," said Sgro.

Sgro says one of her biggest mistakes was spending too much time here in the tanning bed -- something that Dr. Lucas says is a major red flag.

"The problem with a tan is that a tan is a reflection of damage. So there is no good tan that a person can have."

But even if you haven't been working on that summer tan, Sgro still want's people who were in her position to take care of themselves.

"Go get checked. It's not that hard to do. Just go in. Have it taken care of once. It's a simple procedure -- a simple thing to do," said Sgro.

The sooner the better.

"If we find it early and we treat it, if it in fact highly treatable. If we find it before it moves beyond the skin, five year survival rates are 99%," said Dr. Lucas.

Here are the ABC's of Melanoma. Use the following as a guide when checking skin.

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half doesn’t match the other.
  • B is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
  • C is for Color that varies from one area to another.
  • D is for Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
  • E is for Evolving: Look for a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

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