With summer right around the corner, now is an important time to take a good look at your skin that you’ve been hiding under warm clothes all winter long. If you notice a suspicious bump, blemish, dark unsightly mole or one of the signs below, contact your doctor about your concerns.
These are some signs of melanoma:
It can be hard to tell the difference between a regular mole and melanoma. One of the first signs of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size or feel of an existing mole. Use the ABCDE rule to help you remember what to look for:
A – Asymmetry: If you draw a line through the middle, the two sides will match, meaning it is symmetrical. If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, a warning sign for melanoma.
B – Border: The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
C – Color: Having a variety of colors on a mole is another warning sign of melanoma. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white or blue.
D – Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip, but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
E – Evolving: When a mole is evolving or changing, see a doctor. Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — could be a sign of cancer.
Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin, but they are more likely to start on the trunk (chest and back) in men and on the legs in women. The neck and face are other common sites, but melanoma can also develop on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and under the nails.
The following factors may raise your risk of developing melanoma:
Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, even during the winter months and on cloudy days. You should also:
How do you protect your skin? Tell us in the below comments.
Discover 5 steps to lower your risk of skin cancer.
Learn more about skin cancer and UV awareness June 6 at Edward Hospital.
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