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Thursday, March 21, 2019
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 15:48

Recognizing Skin Cancer

Skin cancer rates have been rising in the US and it has become the most common cancer in young people. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, including using sunscreen, wearing UV protective clothing and avoiding indoor tanning.

Early detection of skin cancer is also important. Examine your skin on on your entire body for suspicious spots or changes to moles at least once a month. Be especially suspicious of new moles. Taking photos of moles can help you monitor them for changes over time.

Dermatologists look for particular features in skin referred to as the ABCs of skin cancer. The ABCDEs are important characteristics to be aware of when examining your skin for moles and other growth, here's what to look for:

A is for Asymmetry
Normal moles are symmetrical, with both sides looking the same. If they do not look the same on both sides, have it checked by a dermatologist.

B is for Borders
If a mole does not look circular, or is irregular with bumps, ragged or blurred edges, have it checked by a dermatologist. Melanoma lesions often have uneven borders.

C is for Color
Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. Look for areas of uneven or multiple colors. Moles with shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red should be checked by a doctor.

D is for Diameter
A mole should be checked by a doctor if it is larger than 6mm – about the size of the eraser of a pencil.

E for is Evolution
If a mole is shrinking, growing larger, changing color, causing irritation or bleeding – it should be checked. Melanoma lesions often grow in size or change in height rapidly.

If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE's see a doctor. Your doctor may want remove a tissue sample from the mole to perform a biopsy.


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