Skin cancer kills one American every hour. Over 65,000 people die every year because of melanoma alone, and the American Academy of Dermatology estimates one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at a given point during their lives. The good news is skin cancer is highly curable IF detected early. That is why it is crucial to know the ABCDEs of skin moles and seek medical attention if you recognize at least one of these symptoms.
A Stands for Asymmetry
Asymmetrical moles are a red flag for all dermatologists. A normal, non-cancerous mole should be symmetrical, having no distinct irregularities. Imagine an invisible line that divides the mole into two halves. If the two parts are not identic, then you have to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.
B as in Border Irregularity
Moles should be round with well-defined, round, edges. Irregular, blurred, uneven, or jagged margins are a definite sign of a cluster of cancerous cells.
Be on a Lookout for Color Change
Normal, healthy, non-cancerous moles have a single color. All small congenital pigmented spots with more than one shade of color, especially shades of blue and white, should be checked out by a dermatologist as they may harbor deadly cancerous cells.
D, or Diameter, Is Also a Sign
As a general rule, all excrescences or spots with a diameter larger than 6 mm should be considered a giant red flag. Just think about the gum at the end of a no. 2 pencil. Nonetheless, even if a mole is smaller than that but presents irregular margins, multiple colors, or is asymmetrical, it can still be dangerous.
E is Evolution, Which Is Not Always a Good Thing
Visible evolution like a change in color, aspect, size, or consistency needs to be reported to the doctor. Additional symptoms like bleeding, tenderness, or itching are also important clues to the invasive nature of the cell cluster.
Not all moles are made out of cancerous cells, and not every patient experiences change in the same way. It is crucial that all individuals keep an eye on their moles or skin spots and report any minor modification to their doctors. Remember, skin cancer is treatable only when it is caught early, and in 90 percent of cases, it’s up to the patient to notice the first red flags.
Image Source: Vimeo