ABCDEs of Melanoma
May, with the return of stronger and longer hours of sunshine, is designated as Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, skin cancer has become a very common issue in our society. An estimated 1 out of every 5 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Cases of the most serious and dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma, doubled from the year 1982 to 2011.
What is Melanoma
Melanoma is when the cells that make the brown color of your moles become cancerous. On average, one American dies of melanoma every single hour. Because of this, it is critical that everyone knows how to spot a possible melanoma. When caught early, before spreading to the lymph nodes or organs of the body, melanoma has a 98% survival rate. Early detection and removal can truly be life-saving.
Thankfully, there is an easy-to-remember guide about how to spot a melanoma, called the ABCDE’s. You should examine your skin, from head to toe, checking any brown spots carefully for the following features. Use a hand mirror, or have a partner help you check hard to see areas. In addition, if you notice any spot on your skin that seems different from others, or that is itching, bleeding, or is a non-healing sore, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
The A, B, C, D, Es
A → Asymmetry
One-half is unlike the other half.
B → Border
An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C → Color
Multiple different colors in the same spot, shades of tan or black; is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D → Diameter
Melanomas are usually bigger than a pencil eraser (6 mm) when diagnosed, but they can also be smaller.
E → Evolving
Changing in size, shape, and/or color over time
DISCLAIMER: The contents and opinions expressed by Everett Clinic teammates and providers on “A Healthier You” blog and those providing comments are theirs alone and are not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your own provider for personal health recommendations.
About This Blog
Ready to take charge of your health? Join the conversation with our team of wellness experts. Get tips on prevention, exercise and strategies for a healthier you!