“Melanoma should not kill anyone” – Dr. Bernard Ackerman, Prominent American Dermatopathologist.

As a general practitioner with an interest in dermatology. I feel that some of the primary care level dermatology is of utmost importance. One such a topic that I would like to emphasize is screening for skin cancer, and specifically the deadliest skin cancer, namely Malignant Melanoma.

World Melanoma day is today, the 8th of May 2018. This day was specifically allocated to help to increase the awareness among patients and their family members of the early detection of Malignant Melanoma, as this cancer, when detected early can have a 5 year survival rate of 97%, however when this cancer is left to grow the survival rate significantly declines. As patients of Papillon Medical Dermatology Laser Centre most of you are already aware of the importance of regular self examination and the importance of bringing these lesions to the attention of your treating physician. Please also keep an eye for any suspicious lesions on your loved ones. I recently had a gentlemen who was “saved” by his wife and daughter who advised him to come in for a suspicious mole on his back.

Primary prevention is of utmost importance with sun protection in general, avoidance of tanning beds and avoidance of midday sun as a few important measures. A quick reminder for how to assess your moles can easily be remembered with the ABCDE rule. A is for asymmetry; B is for Border irregularities; C is for Colour changes; D is for diameter( Larger than 6mm) and E is for Evolution or changes that may be noted.

If you have any concerns regarding any of your moles you can come in for review with one of our physicians. Both of our Calgary and Okotoks locations offer skin cancer screening services.

With patients and physicians working together we may achieve a future where no one dies of Malignant Melanoma, just as Dr Bernard Ackerman envisioned.

By Dr. Jurie J Fourie, MB ChB