Every hour, one person dies from Melanoma in the United States. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 3.5 million new skin cancers are diagnosed every year. Of those, 76,000 are Melanoma, the most fatal form of skin cancer. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of this preventable and potentially fatal disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, the best way to ensure early skin cancer detection is through a monthly self-exam. Take your time and be sure to look over every inch of skin; not forgetting hard to reach areas such as your scalp and feet. Don’t rely on those skin cancer detection apps available for smartphones. These are unreliable and cannot replace a doctor’s trained eye.
Be on the Lookout
While skin cancers usually occur in areas that are exposed to a lot of sun, they can arise anywhere. They can also be a variety of sizes and shapes. A cancerous area may be a new growth, or an old mole that suddenly changes. Keep your eye out for any new moles, bumps, patches, or sores that do not heal after several weeks. While you may have had a mole for years, it may suddenly change, which can suggest a melanoma is developing.
The ABCDE Rule
The ABCDE rule can help you to remember the signs of melanoma. Be on the lookout and contact your doctor if you have any spots with the following features:
A – Asymmetry: half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
B – Border: the edges of the mole or birthmark are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
C – Color: the color varies throughout; it may include patches of brown, black, pink, red, and blue.
D – Diameter: spot is larger than 6mm across (1/4 inch or the size of a pencil eraser).
E – Evolving: the mole or spot is changing in size, shape, and color.
Some melanomas do not fit the rules described above, so it is important to tell your physician about any new or changing spot on your skin. Let Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery support you in your quest for healthy skin. Call our office with your questions on early skin cancer detection at 281.484.0088.
Dr. Vitenas and our team of expertly trained skin care professionals are honored to take care of both your body and your health.