According to the Canadian Cancer Society, approximately 6,800 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma in 2016, and roughly 1,200 of those individuals died from the disease. Years of exposure to the sun makes seniors susceptible to this deadly form of skin cancer, and many family caregivers face difficulty helping their loved ones manage this disease.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Caledon Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
The following are common melanoma warning signs you and your loved one should know. By identifying suspicious moles and lesions early, you can help your loved one manage this disease.
1. A for Asymmetry
Most benign moles are symmetrical in shape. This means if you drew an imaginary line through the middle of the mole, the two sides would look virtually identical. Any mole that is asymmetrical in shape should be examined by a doctor.
2. B for Border
The edges of a mole often indicate if it is malignant or benign. Early-stage melanomas typically have uneven borders, which may be notched or scalloped. A mole with a smooth, even border is most likely benign and not a cause for concern.
3. C for Color
Most benign moles are relatively uniform in color. In most cases, melanomas are different shades of brown, black, or tan. However, they can also appear blue, white, or red.
4. D for Diameter
Melanomas tend to be larger than benign moles. A doctor should assess any mole that is larger than a pencil eraser. It is also important to note that benign moles typically stay the same size, while melanomas often get larger with time.
Caring for a loved with melanoma can be challenging at times. If your aging loved one needs help managing the tasks of daily living and you’re searching for a reliable, expertly trained caregiver, Caledon, ON, Home Care Assistance is your top choice. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers strive to make aging in place a safer and more comfortable experience for seniors so they can enjoy their golden years in better health.
5. E for Evolution
Benign moles seldom change in appearance. Any change in the shape, size, color, or elevation of a mole is a warning sign that it may be cancerous. In addition, any mole that bleeds, itches, or becomes crusty should be evaluated.
How You Can Help Your Loved One Prevent Melanoma
The primary risk factor for melanoma is excessive sun exposure. The following steps can help prevent further skin damage and ensure melanomas are caught in early stages:
- Encourage your loved one to wear a high SPF sunscreen all year long. Most people think about sunscreen during the summer. However, the ultraviolet rays from the sun that cause skin cancer are present throughout the year.
- Help your loved one perform a head-to-toe skin exam on a monthly basis. This is especially important if your loved one has a history of excessive sun exposure. Be on the lookout for any mole that has changed since the last check or appears substantially different from your loved one’s other moles.
- If your loved one is at risk of melanoma, encourage him or her to see a dermatologist once a year for a skin cancer screening.
Although melanoma is relatively common in aging adults, it is not the only disease they are susceptible to. Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline can be equally challenging for older adults. However, seniors can benefit from hiring professional caregivers. For trusted and reliable dementia care, Caledon families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are experts in caring for seniors with memory-related conditions, our caregivers are available 24/7, and all of our dementia care programs are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.To learn about our high-quality dementia care plans, give us a call at 905-951-8885.