Dear 16-Year-Old Me

One bad Sunburn before the age of 18 doubles your chances of developing melanoma.” “You are at a higher risk if you have more than 50 moles, a weakened immune system, or a family history of skin cancer.” “The outlook is very good if we can catch it early, but you have a less than 10% chance of surviving more than 5 years if we don’t.” “Melanoma can show up on your tongue, your palms, and on the soles of your feet.” “Your skin is like an elephant; it never forgets.” “If something seems out of place, get your doctor to have a look as soon as possible.”

The weather is getting warmer, and it’s fun to be outdoors again. Please don’t forget the sunscreen, and always cover up. Get to know your skin, and check it regularly; if you are a parent, please keep those kids slathered in the SPF 35.

We all have things that we will regret as we get older, but let’s not allow melanoma to be one of them.

Melanoma is a common and serious skin cancer which, if not treated early, is usually fatal.  The good news is that the risk of melanoma can be significantly decreased by reducing exposure to UV radiation, and that the prognosis for melanoma patients can be improved by early detection.  The bad news is that despite increasing public awareness of the dangers of UV radiation, many people still do not understand the seriousness of the damage caused by exposure to UV radiation, particularly damage caused during early years.  Further, not enough people are aware of the early signs of melanoma, or the importance of self detection.  As a result, melanoma is often ignored until it’s too late.  However, we believe that through David’s story, we can bring change.

The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund

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