Every day, more than 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer. Unfortunately, skin cancer is growing exponentially, making it the most common type of cancer. Early detection is key, and the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, scars, or even death.
Skin cancer can be divided two ways, melanoma and non-melanoma. Two of the most common non-melanoma skin cancers are called Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Melanoma is not common, but when detected, it is the deadliest form. Melanomas rapidly spread to form new cancers around the body.
Frequent examinations by your dermatologist, or daily skin checks can help discover early signs of skin cancer. Because skin cancer signs are often seen rather than felt, it is sometimes difficult to recognize. Here are a few tips on when to see a dermatologist:
A good starting point for checking melanomas is to use the ABCDEs. This is helpful when doing skin checks for skin cancer signs.
A – ASYMMETRY
When a mole is unportioned or parts of it look different.
B – BORDER
When a mole has rough edges, different color, or is jagged.
C – COLOR
When the color is different throughout.
D – DIAMETER
When the diameter is greater than 6mm (but cancers could be smaller).
E – EVOLVING
A mole or spot that has changed over time.
Visit www.skincancer.org to see photos and descriptions of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers signs to help you with your skin checks.
We also recommend that you protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays by following our clinician’s tips: