When the summer season arrives, many New York residents spend more time enjoying outdoor activities. However, they should be reminded that an increase in sun exposure is also an increase in the risk of melanoma, a skin cancer that can potentially be fatal if it isn’t diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Melanoma is a cancer of the skin that can develop when a young person gets blistering sunburns or goes without protection to sun exposure. Although this form of cancer is rare and only makes up an estimated 1 percent of skin cancer cases, it results in the highest rate of fatalities. The risk for melanoma can increase with age, though it is noted that it is the most common form of skin cancer found in women ages 20 to 40. It is most likely found on the back or legs but can also develop on other areas of the body that are not protected against sun exposure, such as the scalp or even in the eye.
To reduce the risk of melanoma, those who are planning to spend time outdoors should use a broad spectrum sunscreen that has a minimum 30 SPF. The sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours. Additionally, residents should find shade during the hottest part of the day when shadows are shortest, as this is when the sun is strongest.
Because melanoma can be fatal if it is not diagnosed as soon as possible, it is imperative that doctors quickly and correctly diagnose this type of skin cancer. When people receive a delayed diagnosis of melanoma and their prognosis and treatment options are impacted as a result, they should contact a medical malpractice attorney to determine what their options are.