Almost everyone has moles on their body. While a majority of them are harmless, some can be deadly. A normal or benign mole is often evenly colored, round or oval in shape, about ¼ inch in diameter and can either be flat or raised. Some moles are present at birth, but the majority appear during childhood. New moles that show up on adults should be examined closely as they could be a sign of melanoma.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can develop anywhere in the body that has pigments. It is however curable if diagnosed in its early stages. Certain factors may significantly increase your risk of skin cancer, such as chronic sun exposure, severe sunburn as a child, a family history of the disease or by simply having fair skin.
How do you to tell if a mole is cancerous?
One of the best way to tell if a mole is cancerous is by the way it looks. Aside from the sudden appearance of a mole a change in shape, size or color of an existing one is the most probable sign of melanoma.
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Dermatologists recommend using the ABCDE method to identify possible signs of the disease during your routine screening. It determines if mole is cancerous by using the following characteristics as indicators:
- A = Asymmetry: One side of the spot is very different from the other.
- B = Border: The spot has irregular edges. Either notched or blurred.
- C = Color: If the color is inconsistent throughout the spot.
- D = Diameter: If the spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser or ¼ inch.
- E = Evolving: Is it changing in size, shape or color.
Not all melanomas fit the descriptions above, so if you have any doubts about a spot on your body it is best to consult your doctor right away.
To help decrease your risks of getting melanoma you should limit your exposure to sunlight and use sunscreen when possible. Since early detection is key to prevention, regularly screening your body for irregular spots is very important and may even save your life.
When we hear the word immunization, we often think they are for children. But being protected from contagious diseases is important for all of us.
Immunization is the process by which a person is vaccinated for a certain type of infectious disease, to boost their resistance or immunity. The treatment stimulates the immune system’s antibodies to help better combat the infection. These vaccines save lives. In fact they have decreased the death rate of infectious diseases to less than 5% to date. It is important to know that even though you were vaccinated for a particular type of disease as a child, you may need to get it done again later in life. This is especially important for seniors and those with weakened immune systems.
What should I be immunized for as an adult?
Although rarely fatal, the flu virus may cause complications with those that have compromised immune systems. High risk individuals such as seniors and pregnant women should be vaccinated every year, as the flu virus may have evolved and changed.
The shingles is caused by the same virus as the chicken pox. This is why it is very dangerous to contract the chicken pox as an adult. Shingles causes painful skin rash and blisters, which may spread to the face and eyes and could cause blindness. Even if you have already had chicken pox as a child, the virus could stay in your body and re-activate when your immune system is compromised due to complications or age. Chances of getting the shingles increases after the age of 50, but getting the vaccine reduces your chances by 12-50%.
Depending on your destination, there may be multiple types of diseases you should be vaccinated for. But if you are and avid traveller you should be immunized for polio, diphtheria, hepatitis and the measles regardless. If you are unsure which shots you need, speak to your doctor or visit a travel clinic. Just make sure to give it plenty of time as some vaccines may take up to 2 weeks to become fully effective.
Adults who did not receive the following vaccines as a child should make sure they get them right away:
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Measles/Rubella (German Measles)
- Varicella (chicken pox)
- Pneumococcal disease (pneumonia) – over the age of 65
Adults may have better developed immune systems than children, but that doesn’t make us immune to diseases. Make sure you get all the necessary immunizations today.
Have you ever wondered how long it will take for your investment to double in value? The “Rule of 72” can help you get a rough estimate of how many years you can expect to wait. The formula is quite simple really. You simply divide the annual rate of return by 72 to get your number. For example, a $1 investment at a 10% rate of return will take 7.2 years to double (72/10=7.2). But as mentioned above, the rule should only be used to get a rough estimate. For the example above the exact number of years it would take for that investment to double would actually be 7.3 years, giving the Rule of 72 formula a .1 year margin of error. Below is a chart showing the differences in calculations using the Rule of 72 and the exact calculations. As you can see the accuracy is highest at 7%-9%.
(click to enlarge)