Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. We all know we should keep an eye on moles for any suspicious signs that could potentially lead to skin cancer, but what exactly are we looking for? According to researchers at Brown University, there are precisely seven unique characteristics to look out for when you do your regular skin checks.
If you notice any of the changes occur with a mole that’s been around no matter how long or short, it’s a good idea to make an appointment to get in to see your dermatologist. It’s likely no cause for alarm, but, as in the case with all health-related issues, better to err on the side of caution.
Here are the newly updated ABC’s of skin cancer detection:
A is for…..Asymmetry. Would both sides of the mole mirror each other if it were divided in two parts? If yes, then you’re good to go and your mole is symmetrical. If not, than your mole is asymmetrical and you should keep a close eye on it and consider getting it checked out.
B is for.…Borders. Straight borders are a safer bet here compared to rough, jagged edges.
C is for….Color. It should be one solid color and not multiple shades of a color, which is a sign that you want to get in to see your dermatologist. Moles should also not be black, which is typically the color of nodular melanomas, a dangerous kind of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, that can spread and lead to death. If your mole turns black, call your dermatologist.
D is for….Diameter. Moles should be smaller around than the size of a pencil eraser. Melanomas typically are larger than this, which can be a warning sign.
E is for….Evolution. If your mole changes in shape, size, color, elevation, or if it starts to itch or bleed, these are signals that it’s wise to make a dermatologist appointment.
F is for…Firmness. Moles should be soft on the surface and not stiff, which is a sign of abnormality.
G is for…Growth. Moles should stay the same size. Be on the lookout for moles that grow, especially rapidly over the course of weeks or months.
How good are You about regularly spot-checking moles on your skin?