According to the Union for International Cancer Control, cancer will kill more than eight million people alone this year. An equally scary statistic shows that the instances of skin cancer will top 5.4 million diagnoses in 2016. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life. The numbers are staggering, but the good news about skin cancer is that it’s quite often preventable if you follow a few simple rules for skin awareness.
World Cancer Day is a good opportunity to review these tips, which you should be following all year long. The following are the ABCDE’s of skin cancer awareness.
A is for Asymmetry
If you imagine cutting a mole or lesion in half and folding it on itself and the two sides do not look alike, you have asymmetry. One side could have a projection or irregular color, while the other side might not. This sort of asymmetry is a warning sign for skin cancer.
B is for Borders
If the borders of a mole are irregular or jagged, this could be a sign of skin cancer. Also, if the borders become blurry and are not sharply demarcated, this could be worrisome, and you should see your dermatologist right away.
C is Color
If there is more than one color in the mole or lesion, please contact your dermatologist.
D is For Diameter
If the lesion itself is greater than 6 millimeters in diameter, see your dermatologist.
E is for Evolution
To me, this is the most important of the ABCDE’s. Evolution means that something is growing or changing, and is a sign that you need to have the mole or lesion checked out.
It’s crucial for you to be familiar with these tips and that you perform a monthly self skin examination for any growing or changing lesions, or for any lesions that meet the criteria noted above. Should you notice any of these concerning signs on your skin, please make an appointment with your dermatologist.
For more information, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Janiga or Melanie Buckley for mole evaluation and treatment in our Reno/Tahoe dermatology office, please contact us or call 775-398-4600.