Know Your ABCDEs to Check for Signs of Skin Cancer
Incidents of skin cancer are on the rise. More than three million people across the United States and Canada are diagnosed each year. Melanoma is particularly lethal. Between the two countries, melanoma will kill more than 10,000 people in 2016.
It’s important to do skin checks thoroughly and at least once a month. By doing self-checks, you become familiar with what is normal for your skin. Many people don’t understand that something very small on their skin can be deadly if it’s not treated promptly. Your skin should also be examined by a dermatologist once a year, or more frequently if you are considered to be at high risk for cancer.
What does a normal mole look like?
A normal mole is usually:
An evenly colored brown, tan or black spot on your skin
Flat or raised and round or oval
Usually no wider than a pencil
The ABCDE rule is another way to check skin for signs of skin cancer. Make an appointment to see your dermatologist immediately if you notice any moles or spots on your skin that have any other these features:
A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
B is for Boarder: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes patches of pink, red, white or blue.
D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than a pencil eraser, although some melanomas can be smaller.
E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape or color.