May is malignant melanoma awareness month
The deadliest skin cancer takes the lives of almost 8,000 Americans every year. Some I've known, Laura Knutson, Diana Ashby, Kim Wheeler and too many others.
I'm a malignant melanoma survivor. Not just one MM, but four all diagnosed and removed in 1993 and 1994. I'm a stage II melanoma patient, and have been clean for almost 12 years.
Melanoma is beatable if its detected early. Here are the warning signs.
A = Asymmetry: melanoma lesions are typically asymmetrical, whereas benign moles are typically round and symmetrical.
B = Border: melanoma lesions frequently have uneven or irregular borders (ie, ragged or notched edges), whereas benign moles have smooth, even borders.
C = Color: melanoma lesions often contain multiple shades of brown or black, whereas benign moles are usually a single shade of brown.
D = Diameter: early melanoma lesions are often more than 6 mm in diameter, whereas benign moles are usually less than 6 mm in diameter.
Its not difficult. This and using sunscreens can prevent this deadly cancer. I've seen too many people die of it already and would like to meet no more.
Here is the story of one MM survivor, Shonda Schilling. She is the wife of MLB pitcher Curt Schilling. Shonda was first diagnosed in 2001. God bless Shonda and her family.
Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Third World County, Is it just me, Mark My Words,
HUDSON, Mass. -- The fourth-grade class at Farley Elementary School won't soon forget its substitute teacher on Monday. And the class' teacher is hoping that the 24 students won't ever forget the lesson she taught.
Shonda Schilling, the wife of Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, spent 30 minutes teaching and quizzing kids on the fundamentals of skin cancer prevention and the importance of screening to ensure a healthy future.
Shonda Schilling is a survivor of melanoma, having being diagnosed with the disease in 2001. Five years later, the mother of four is continuing her aggressive education campaign through the SHADE Foundation of America, the institution she founded to deliver the message.
In recognition of the American Academy of Dermatology's Melanoma Monday, Schilling traveled nearly 30 miles west of her husband's famous workplace to promote the Sunwise program.
The day also served as the launching pad for Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.
"Eight to ten thousand people die every year of melanoma," Schilling told the class. "My purpose being here today is to make sure you never get skin cancer."
The Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise Curriculum is a free curriculum available to all schools nationwide. The curriculum is designed for students from kindergarten to eighth grade, and it's available online at www.shadefoundation.org or www.epa.gov/sunwise.
"I also want you all to go home and talk to your parents about this, too, and take all the precautions when out in the sun," she said. "I have two goals -- help me spread the word and help me educate others."
As all good teachers can attest, sometimes a good prop can work wonders in teaching kids simple facts. With that in mind, Schilling -- using sun block -- scripted a Red Sox "B" on a chemically treated Sunwise Frisbee. After holding it next to a window, everyone could see the toy turn purple, even on a cloudy day, except for the outline of the letter logo familiar to all baseball fans.
Schilling brought along a teacher's helper, Mark Scharf, M.D., a leading dermatologist from the UMass Memorial Health Center Division of Dermatology. The American Academy of Dermatology -- www.aad.org/worldrecord -- will attempt to screen 5,606 people this Saturday and in the process set a Guinness World Record for the most people screened for skin cancer in a single day.
"One of the important things to remember is that early detection can lead to a lot simpler treatment and can lead to complete cure," Scharf told the class. "If there is a change in a [skin] mole, don't delay. Get in and get it checked."
Academy officials estimate that some 2,000 teenagers are diagnosed with melanoma every year.
Following Schilling's SunWise lesson, the students spent time designing posters for the SunWise with SHADE poster Contest. The SunWise with SHADE Poster Contest is open to all children in New England. Students are encouraged to design a SunWise poster incorporating the basic SunWise lessons -- wearing sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, hats, sunglasses and seeking shade during the prime sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Last year, more than 17,000 New England students entered the contest. Winning artists from each New England state will receive tickets to a Red Sox game and the grand-prize winner will meet Curt Schilling and throw out the first pitch of a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. For more details on the poster contest or the EPA SunWise program go to www.shadefoundation.org. Poster entries must be postmarked by May 10.