- Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, 41, has been diagnosed with melanoma again. But this time, it is stage two. She hopes sharing her story can educate others about skin protection and encourage them to listen to their doctors’ recommendations.
- Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in the same cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color. Ninety percent of melanomas are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, so it’s important to protect your skin.
- We can get sun damage at any time throughout the year, no matter the weather or temperature. Our experts recommend skin protection techniques like sunscreen usage all year round.
- Paying attention to moles or growths on your skin is an easy way to look out for melanoma since changes to a mole you’ve had for a while or developing a new growth you don’t remembering having on your skin could be signs of of this cancer, according to SurvivorNet’s experts.
Reality star Arroyave, the daughter of music legend John Mellencamp, has previously shared details of her melanoma journey which began earlier this year.Read More
Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave Faces Melanoma AgainSadly, in a most recent update, Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave shared the news of another, more serious melanoma diagnosis.
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“Melanoma awareness update. Despite my anxiety, I listened to the doctors and went in for my 3-month skin check last week since my previous melanoma,” she wrote in a recent Instagram caption. “They said I had another abnormal spot near my last one so they did a biopsy. I got the call this morning: Stage 2 melanoma.”
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Next Wednesday, an oncologist will “cut out” the cancerous spot and devise a treatment plan.
“Of course, this is all pending some additional testing and biopsies of other spots nearby that were taken today,” she wrote. “Moral of this story: if a doctor says, ‘come in every 3 months’ please go in every 3 months.
“I so badly wanted to blow this off. ‘What could happen in 3 months?’ I thought. Apparently a lot.”
The mother of three then goes on to say that her experience has taught her a very important lesson about her health.
“I continue to share this journey because I was a 90s teen, putting baby oil and iodine on my skin to tan it. Never wearing sunscreen or getting my moles checked until I was 40 years old,” she wrote. “This has been such a wakeup call for me, and I hope to all of you, to love and protect the skin you’re in.”
Learning about Melanoma – Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave’s Cancer
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in the same cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 99,780 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022.
And while the ACS says the risk of melanoma increases as people age with the average age of diagnosis being 65, the disease is not uncommon among those younger than 30. In fact, it’s one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
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The disease can develop from an existing mole or appear as a dark or pink growth on the skin even in places on the body that never see the sun. It’s also known to be the deadliest form of skin cancer.
“Melanomas are the deadliest type of skin cancer because they have a tendency to spread to other parts of the body,” explains Dr. Anna Pavlick, a medical oncologist with Weill Cornell Medicine who specializes in treating skin cancer.
Ninety percent of melanomas are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This means excessive time in the sun – even as a child – puts you at a higher risk.
Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Skin From Skin Cancer
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Dendy Engelman from MDCS Dermatology in New York shared the top five things you can do to avoid skin cancer:
- Avoid sun during peak hours, which is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect the tops of our heads, the tops of our ears and the delicate area around the eye.
- Wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen and make sure to reapply every two hours or after excessive sweating or swimming.
- Have yearly skin checks (with a professional), because it’s difficult to evaluate areas all over the body.
- Avoid tanning beds. There are no “good” tanning beds, and they can significantly increase your risk of melanoma.
Paying Attention to Your Skin
Keeping an eye on the moles or growths on your skin is an easy way to keep an eye out for melanoma. Changes to a mole you’ve had for a while or developing a new growth you don’t remembering having on your skin could be signs of this cancer, according to SurvivorNet’s experts.
Examining Your Skin for Melanoma Remember ABCDE
Dr. Cecilia Larocca of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute gives SurvivorNet an overview of things to look out for with moles using the ABCDE self-screening method:
- Asymmetrical moles: “If you drew a line straight down the center of the mole, would the sides match?”
- Borders that are “irregular, jagged, not smooth.” It can also stand for bleeding.
- Colors: “Multiple distinct colors in the mole.”
- Diameter: “Larger than 6mm, about the size of a pencil head eraser.”
- Evolution: “This may be the most important,” she says. “Anything that is changing over time such as gaining color, losing color, painful, itching, hurting, changing shape, etc.”
Spots on our skin are often harmless, but it’s still important to keep an eye on them and reach out to your doctor if you see any changes or find a growth anywhere on your skin that looks suspicious.
The Importance of Sunscreen
Dr. Engelman says it’s a common misconception that the need for sun protection is seasonal.
“My patients ask me all the time, ‘Do I really need sunscreen every day, all year round?’ The answer is yes,” Dr. Engelman previously told SurvivorNet. “People think they only need sun protection when they’re in the bright, warm sunshine. But the reality is, we can get sun damage at any time throughout the year, even in the cold, wintry months.
“Think about when you go skiing. That’s a very high risk. Even though it’s cold, our skin should be protected.”
And when it comes to sunscreen, it’s important to note that choosing the right product can be just as important as consistency.
Dr. Larocca recommends you use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply it every two hours. Your sunscreen should also be broad spectrum, says Dr. Larocca, meaning it covers both UVB and UVA rays.
Choose the Right Sunscreen and Use It Often
Dermatologist Dr. Snehal Amin, the co-founder and surgical director of MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, says that while brand name is not very important, paying attention to the ingredients and feel of the sunscreen can make a difference.
“My recommendation is really focus on the ingredients rather than the brands,” Dr. Amin says. “If you like the way the brand feels on your skin, if you like the purpose of the brand – for instance, sport versus daily use or daytime use versus a short burst of activity use – I think those are more important factors than actual brands.”
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