Cancer is a scary word, but if it’s caught early, it doesn’t have to be. We want to give you the tools to help you recognize the early signs of skin cancer and when to see a doctor.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer but luckily it’s also the rarest. Melanomas are far more likely to grow and spread if left untreated, which is why early detection is so important. An easy way to know what to look for is by following the ABCDE warning signs:
- Asymmetry: Normal moles are symmetrical, or the same all the way around. If half of one of your moles doesn’t match the other half, that’s a concern.
- Border: Similarly to symmetrical, if the border or edges of your mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular, it should be checked.
- Color: If your mole has changed color or if it has different shades of colors in it, you should have it checked out. Normal moles are a single shade throughout.
- Diameter: If your mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil (around 6mm or .25 inch), it needs to be checked.
- Evolving: If your mole has changed, meaning it’s shrinking, growing, changing colors, itching, bleeding, basically any kind of significant change. It needs to be checked out.
How Will I Know If I Have Skin Cancer?
The only way to know if you definitely have skin cancer would be to have a dermatologist screen you. However, you should be taking the first steps by monitoring your moles at home so you know if anything has changed. Make sure you are checking moles in areas that would be exposed to the sun, but don’t forget about other areas like between your toes and palms of your hands that may not seem as obvious.
We hope this information has helped you feel more empowered to check out your own moles and know what to look for when doing so. If you have any other questions or concerns, give our office a call today at (585) 922-5840.