By Michael W. Rosen, M.D.
When it comes to your skin, familiarity breeds protection. Knowing it well can help you recognize changes that may indicate melanoma — the most deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma is a serious disease. But, when it’s detected and treated early, it is often curable.
Be on the lookout
Many experts recommend regular self-checks. If you notice any new or changing spot on your skin, let your doctor know. And, when checking moles, freckles or other skin changes, remember the ABCDEs:
- 1. A is for Asymmetry: One half that doesn’t match the other
- 2. B is for Border: Irregular or ragged edges
- 3. C is for Color: A mix of shades or colors
- 4. D is for Diameter: A width of more than 6 millimeters, about the size of a pencil eraser
- 5. E is for Evolving: A Change in the size, shape or color of a spot or the surrounding skin
Other things to look for include areas that:
- 1. Are rough, scaly or lumpy
- 2. Look red or swollen
- 3. Ooze or bleed
- 4. Feel itchy, tender or painful
- 5. Grow back after having been removed
These signs don’t necessarily mean cancer. But, it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor. And, see “Take a good look” for printable tips on doing a careful skin self-check.
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