Deadly skin cancer can appear anywhere in the body, even where the sun does not shine

Melanoma is the most common and deadly form of skin cancer in the United States On what dermatologists call Melanoma Monday, a survivor diagnosed twice has a message.

Dermatologists emphasize the importance of regular professional skin checks and familiarization with changes in the body.

Photo courtesy of GW Medical Faculty Associates

Amelanotic melanoma.

Photo courtesy of GW Medical Faculty Associates

Liz Hazuka, 34, of Reston, needed surgery to remove a stage 1A melanoma from the back of her calf above her heel.

Photo courtesy of Liz Hazuka

Liz Hazuka, 34, of Reston, needed surgery to remove a stage 1A melanoma from the back of her calf above her heel.

Photo courtesy of Liz Hazuka

Acral lentiginous melanoma.

Photo courtesy of GW Medical Faculty Associates

Melanoma is the most common and deadly form of skin cancer in the United States On what dermatologists call Melanoma Monday, a survivor diagnosed twice has a message.

“Anyone can have melanoma; anyone can have skin cancer. Bob Marley died of melanoma, “said Liz Hazuka, 34, of Reston, Virginia.

Hazuka has fair skin, red hair and freckles. Her first melanoma attack occurred when she was 25, she was found during a routine checkup at the dermatologist’s office.

“Luckily, I found it soon,” he said. “My first one was a little invasive. It was a stage 1A. Luckily, I just needed a wide local excision. There was only surgery. So I have a scar of about 4 inches on my right calf.”

Hazuka’s second melanoma was detected even earlier. He said the experience of having to alleviate cancer has changed his life.

“I never go to the sun without sunscreen and long sleeves. I really avoid the sun at noon; my beach days, going there all day, are long gone, ”he said.

Hazuka said she was so passionate about helping people avoid being diagnosed late with melanoma that she changed careers and is now studying to become a doctor’s assistant.

“I have a year and a half to finish. And I hope to one day be working in dermatology, “she said.

Hazuka said he cares about people who may be put at risk unnecessarily.

“I think especially for young women. There’s this pressure to look a certain way, and to go out tanning, get into a tanning booth, or lie in the sun all day. But it can’t just increase the risk. skin cancer, but it also ages the skin much faster, “he said.



Exposure to ultraviolet light can cause all forms of skin cancer. But there are certain types of cancer that are more related to genetics and family history.

While Hazuka’s stage 1A cancer was on the back of her calf, a DC dermatologist said skin cancer can appear on any part of the body.

“This can include palms and soles. Even where the sun literally doesn’t shine on the groin or buttocks,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, a professor and professor of dermatology at the School of Medicine and Science. of Health at George Washington University.

Although extremely rare, melanoma can also occur under the bed of a fingernail, Friedman said. The melanoma that killed reggae icon Bob Marley first appeared as a dark spot under his toenail.

“This can appear as a long, growing black stripe on the nail that can change over time,” Friedman said. “There is some evidence that exposure to UV radiation on a manicure may increase the risk of this type of skin cancer.”

Both Friedman and Hazuka emphasize the importance of regular professional skin checks and being familiar with the changes that occur in the body.

“I tell all my patients to check in at least once a month, or every two months, for new growths or spots, or spots that change over time,” Friedman said. “It’s this evolution over time that really indicates that something could be wrong and that it would justify being reviewed by a board-certified dermatologist.”

Some of the changes could be the size or shape of a dot; the border could go from being very well cut to a kind of stain; color changes may become more pronounced or fade to fade. All indications are that something is wrong.

“The wait won’t make it go away,” Hazuka said. “If you ever see something new or changing, or something just doesn’t look right, come in and look at it.”

One person dies of melanoma almost every hour in the United States, but if detected early, there is a 95% cure rate just by eliminating it, Friedman said.

“So the most important thing is to catch it soon,” Friedman stressed. “Early detection saves lives.”

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