Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the majority of deaths. When on the scalp it can be especially difficult to catch in a self-examination — when was the last time you examined the top of your head?

One person who might be able to help: your hairdresser. While cutting your hair, they've got a great view for a scalp inspection. And they can learn how to spot scary changes, researchers say.

Parents probably don't put "check for tanning bed" when moving a child into off-campus housing. But many apartment buildings that cater to students provide free indoor tanning, a study finds.

"When my daughter went off to college, she looked at 10 apartments near her campus," said Dayna Diven, a dermatologist at the University of Texas' Dell Medical School. "All 10 of them offered residents free indoor tanning; I was shocked."

When I was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma at age 23, I faced an onslaught of emotions: frustration that it took two misdiagnoses and 10 valuable months to get the diagnosis; shock that this could happen to me, when I was young, healthy, and alert to the risks of skin cancer; and, of course, fear of what was to come.

Even in difficult times, though, I’ve always been a pretty upbeat, glass-half-full kind of gal. I think that may be why it would surprise friends and family when I’d bring up the less pleasant things that melanoma might mean for me down the road. Although we expected the upcoming surgeries to remove all detectable cancer, there was a significant chance of it reappearing as Stage IV. Only 20 percent of Stage IV patients survive five years, a steep drop from the (already discouraging) 60 percent rate I’ve been assigned at Stage III.

Sandra Lopez and her Chihuahua, Coco, were inseparable. He followed her everywhere, and kept Lopez's mood up when she was in pain — which was often.

On Oct. 15, 2014, Lopez died at age 49 of melanoma that had slowly spread throughout her body over the course of two years.

Lopez was in and out of the hospital in 2014, but during the months she was home, a hospice nurse from the Metropolitan Jewish Health System visited once a week to help manage the pain, backed up by a 24-hour, nurse-staffed phone line that Lopez called often.

A New Drug May Help With Melanoma

Oct 5, 2014

The FDA recently approved (through its accelerated approval process) a new melanoma drug called Keytruda. Experts are enthusiastic about the potential of this and similar drugs in the pipeline.  

Cancer experts are calling a new melanoma drug one example of a whole new avenue of cancer treatments. They work by using the body's own immune system to battle the cancer cells. The new drug is called Keytruda. Dr. Evan Lipson of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine spoke with Sound Medicine to explain why this drug is getting so much buzz.

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"We begin this week with a call to action to deal with the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S.," says host Barbara Lewis.   

If you take a Geiger counter with you on your next flight, you'll notice the dial ratchet up as the plane approaches cruising altitude. Every time you fly, you get zapped by a little extra radiation from space. It goes right through you, in teensy amounts. It's usually nothing to worry about, even if you're pregnant.

But for people who fly a lot — like the plane's crew — that sort of exposure might, in rare instances, amount to something.

The "Other" Types Of Skin Cancer

Jun 2, 2014