Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late: Learn How to Spot Skin Cancer

May 2, 2014 Updated: May 2, 2014

It is estimated that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the course of their lifetime, and one person dies from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – every hour.

In recognition of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month® in May and Melanoma Monday®, observed on May 5, the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) is encouraging the public to learn how to SPOT Skin Cancer™. The campaign aims to save lives by emphasizing the importance of early detection.

“When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable,” said board-certified dermatologist, Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, president of the Academy. “Despite this, many people don’t know how to be their own detective when it comes to skin cancer, including what to look for on their skin or when they should see a dermatologist.”

To increase people’s chances of spotting skin cancer early, the Academy recommends everyone learn the ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:

A – is for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
B – is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
C – is for Color that varies from one area to another.
D – is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
E – is for Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

“Although skin cancer is more common among people with light or fair skin, everyone is at risk of getting this life-threatening disease,” said Dr. Coldiron. “SPOT Skin Cancer™ encourages people to invest in their health and spot skin cancer early, when it is most treatable. If you see anything on your skin that is changing, itching or bleeding, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”

From Newswise

*Image of “sunshades” via Shutterstock

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