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Risks and Detection of Skin Cancer - Melanoma

With the hot sunny days of summer, most of us spend a great deal of time outdoors - unprotected. For many years now we have heard about protecting ourselves from harmful ultraviolet rays by using sunscreen, yet too few of us do.

There are many "sun block" lotions on the market ranging in protection from low to high. These sunblocks are usually rated in numericals (i.e. SPF 8 to SPF 70) with the highest supposedly affording the most protection. Make no mistake - the use of these lotions is essential to protecting us from the harmful effects of the sun. It matters not whether you are light-skinned (what some call "fair-skinned) or dark skinned - all of us can get skin cancer, of which melanoma is one type.

If you notice an unusual mole or changes in a mole you have had for a while, go see a specialist (dermatologist) immediately! These doctors can usually tell within a very short period of time whether the "mole" is cancerous or not. With an early diagnosis there is a great likelihood of long term survival. The longer you delay in seeking professional medical help, the greater the likelihood the cancer will spread - and you probably won't even know it.

An easy way to help you determine if you should see a skin doctor promptly is to think of the first four letters of the alphabet - A, B, C, D.

A - Asymmetry of the mole or lesion. If the shape is irregular and

the mole on one side looks different than the other side.

B - Borders of the mole are irregular or differently shaped from the

other side. They often are "notched".

C - Color. Pay special attention to moles that have many different

colors, especially "black" ones.

D - Diameter. If the mole is wider than the eraser of a pencil (6mm.).

You may have melanoma even if you only have one or two of the ABCD's above.

Many of our cancer cases have involved malignant melanoma and the failure to diagnose it. Age is no barrier to this potentially deadly disease. We have successfully handled wrongful death lawsuits for clients aged 26, 43, and 59 - all who died from malignant melanoma as a result of a failure to diagnose the disease at an early stage.

These cases involved a misdiagnosis because the pathologist (laboratory doctor who looks at skin lesions or moles under a microscope) misread the slide. Unfortunately, these clients died because of the mistake by the doctor.  More information: Medical Malpractice - Misdiagnosis of Cancer

If you have any questions about melanoma or cancer cases, feel free to call us at (216) 771-4050.

Author: J. Michael Monteleone

About the author: JKFM Attorneys

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