Early detection is key for melanoma survival

Summer is almost here, and that means many Arizona residents will be enjoying more time out in the sun. However, dermatologists warn that sunburns and prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to an increased risk of melanoma.

The American Cancer Society says that melanoma is responsible for around 1 percent of skin cancers in the U.S., but it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths. It is also the top cause of cancer for women in their 20s and 30s. When diagnosed early, melanoma has a cure rate of 94 to 100 percent, but a patient’s chances of survival drops to 20 percent if the cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body.

Experts recommend that people check their skin regularly for signs of melanoma, looking for moles that have an asymmetric shape, border irregularities or color variations. They should also note any moles that change in size or appearance. When going outdoors, people should protect themselves from the sun by wearing 30 SPF sunscreen, long-sleeve shirts, hats and sunglasses. Those with a family history of melanoma should be especially vigilant about shielding themselves from the sun.

A doctor’s failure to diagnose melanoma or other types of cancer could negatively impact a patient’s chances of survival. Individuals in this situation may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and/or hospital responsible for the misdiagnosis. If the suit is successful, the plaintiff could receive financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other related damages. A personal injury attorney could assess a patient’s case and recommend the best course of action.

Source: Medical Xpress, “Expert spotlights early detection for melanoma awareness month,” May 1, 2017