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Skin Cancer and Melanoma Tips from a Memphis Dermatologist

George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (01/28/2024)

The number of cases of both Melanoma and Skin Cancer continues to rise, so let’s take a look at several tips on Skin Cancer and Melanoma that might save your life – or that of a family member or friend – my own perspective being that of a Board-certified Memphis Dermatologist with Rheumatology and Dermatology, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN 38018, since 1993 (a suburb of Memphis TN; 1-901-753-0168).



Key tip #1:  Who’s at risk of Melanoma and Skin Cancer?

The real question is who’s at ”ESPECIALLY high risk,” because really everyone is at risk of Melanoma and Skin Cancer, not just fair-complected people.



The traditional “especially high-risk” people include:


  • Red-heads and blonde individuals, though in reality, most cases of Melanoma and Skin cancer develop in those with brown, black, or gray-haired individuals, possibly because these individuals are less wary of the sun and may spend more time in Ultraviolet (UV) light, or even use dangerous indoor tanning.

  • People of Scotch-Irish, English, German, or Scandinavian ancestry, but remember that the famous Afro-Caribbean Reggae musician Bob Marley died of Melanoma at the age of 36, from a spot that originated on his foot, so everyone is at risk, not just fair-complected people.

  • People who tend to burn or peel in the sun, especially those with a history of blistering sunburns. 

  • People who have worked in or played in the sun or those who have lived in Sunbelt states like Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona, including golfers, cyclists, skiers, sailors, and tennis players. 

  • People who have used ultraviolet rays (UV rays) at tanning salons.  


Key tip #2: The Best Moves in Prevention of Malignant Melanoma and Skin Cancer

These include:

  • Avoid midday sun between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. 

  • Proper use of “broad-spectrum sunscreen” protects against both traditional UVB rays and also against the newly-appreciated-as-also dangerous UVA rays. Look for an SPF or Sun Protection Factor of 30 or higher.  Remember to reapply every ninety minutes.

  • A personal favorite sunscreen, less likely to run into one’s eyes, is Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 50, now available through Big River Silk Skincare (, an organic and natural skincare products manufacturer and distributor of which I have been President since 2016 (3.5 oz=$17.95) 

  • (1-901-753-0168) (

  • Remember to reapply that sunscreen for both yourself and your children every 90 minutes when out. And it takes about 2 ounces to adequately cover a full-sized adult.  


Key tip #3: Spotting a suspicious lesion for Melanoma or Skin Cancer early is key to effective treatment

For what melanoma is, dermatologists watch for the “A, B, C, D, E” warning signs first described by Drs. Al Knopf and Daryl Rigel of New York University:

A=Asymmetry: the profile of one half of the lesion doesn’t match the other half. 

B=Border irregularity: the profile of the margins of the lesion is jagged, like the coast of Maine, rather than smooth, like the coast of California. 

C=Color Variation: different hues of brown, black, gray, or purple,  

D=Darker Color, when compared with the person’s other moles, or D=Diameter is enlarging, and  

E=Evolving or changing lesion. 


But an Important Warning: some Melanomas and Skin Cancers like “Amelanotic Melanoma” do not show any of the A, B, C, D, or E characteristics. If you or a family member is especially high risk, do your own checks at home, but also definitely get checked periodically by a Board-certified Dermatologist.  


Dermatologists can now achieve better Melanoma cancer outcomes. Most Skin Cancers and Melanomas are treated with “excisional surgery,” whereby the Dermatologist cuts out the malignant cells under local anesthetic, out-patient. Mohs Surgery, available in my own Dermatology practice since 2004, is a way of checking the margins of tissue removed while the patient is still in the office, the goal being to clear the surgical margins of malignant skin cells.

We can even treat “pre-malignant” skin growth, like an Actinic Keratosis or Actinic Keratoses, with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), or prescription creams: Efudex, Fluoroplex, Imiquimod (Aldara), and Retin A (Tretinoin).  



For helpful information on melanoma and melanoma pictures, check out a short movie sponsored by me as a Cordova Dermatologist: YouTube: “Understanding the Melanoma Crisis: Scarlet’s Story.” It tells the story of Scarlet, a 26-year-old student studying to be a teacher at Ole Miss who found out while seven months pregnant that she had metastatic Melanoma.  


My own Memphis Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery practice since 1993 has been at Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates (, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN, 38018, (1-901-753-0168), near Bartlett, Arlington, Germantown, Collierville, and East Memphis. Or you can find a Board-certified Dermatologist closer to you by going to the American Academy of Dermatology’s website,, then plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab.



Don’t delay: get a Skin Cancer Screening or Melanoma Check today. It could save your life or that of a loved one.  


George Woodbury Jr. MD 

8143 Walnut Grove Road 

Cordova TN 38018  


PS: Big River Silk Skincare has now released a new product for 2024: GlycoShea Facial&Neck Lotion/Standard Strength, combining the antiwrinkle cream properties of Glycolic Acid with Refined Shea Butter. GlycoShea can be used as a once or twice-a-day application to areas of skin dryness, and it can be incorporated as an exfoliating moisturizer into acne treatment eczema treatment, or psoriasis treatment. Check GlycoShea out at


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