Early detection is crucial for melanoma survival. Rhodes stressed the need for monthly self-examinations and checks of difficult-to-see areas on the body to look for new moles or changes in size, shape or color of a pre-existing mole.
“Half of all melanomas in non-whites occur on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, nailbeds, mucous membranes, perianal area, genitalia, and other areas that are not exposed to the sun, areas that are difficult-to-self-examine and commonly ignored,” he said.
Melanoma in a hidden site can progress without symptoms or signs, leading to a delayed diagnosis that may result in an increased risk of death, especially for people of color, he added.
Risk factors for melanoma include a personal or family history of melanoma or other skin cancer, a mole that’s present within two weeks of birth, having a lot of moles or having unusual moles, having a lot of freckles or red hair, and having multiple sunburns as a child, according to the Rush University dermatology department.
SOURCE: Rush University, news release, May 23, 2017