Be Well

Flourish: Skin cancer signs, symptoms, and ways to stop cancer before it starts


An estimated one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, however the risk does not stop then. As we live longer, it’s important to continue protecting our skin as we age.

Here is some information from the National Council of Aging on skin cancer:

Is skin cancer common among older adults?

Most skin cancer cases are diagnosed in people older than 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is most frequently diagnosed among adults ages 65-74.

Fortunately, the earlier skin cancer is detected, the better your chance of beating it! Approximately 82.5% of melanoma cases are diagnosed at stage 1 before cancer has spread to other parts of the body; for these cases, the five-year survival rate is 99.4%.

A 2015 CDC study among older adults found that only 15% took all the following recommended preventive measures when outdoors: stay in the shade, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, pants and long-sleeved shirts. Nearly 18% reported they didn’t use any kind of sun protection regularly.

What are the signs of skin cancer?

An easy way to remember the signs of melanoma are the ABCDEs.

  • “A” is for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • “B” is for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • “C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
  • “D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • “E” is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

Source: National Council of Aging

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