Early detection is crucial when it comes to finding melanoma. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there is a 99% 5-year survival rate for patients in the U.S. whose melanoma is detected early.
In order to detect melanoma in an early stage, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs. Generally, you want to be aware of your skin and moles and watch for any signs of change, or any moles that stand out.
The ABCDEs of melanoma
The first five letters of the alphabet are a guide to help you recognize the warning signs of melanoma.
A is for Asymmetry. Most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle of the lesion, the two halves don’t match, so it looks different from a round to oval and symmetrical common mole.
B is for Border. Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders.
C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colors red, white or blue may also appear.
D is for Diameter or Dark. While it’s ideal to detect a melanoma when it is small, it’s a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm, or ¼ inch in diameter) or larger. Some experts say it is also important to look for any lesion, no matter what size, that is darker than others. Rare, amelanotic melanomas are colorless.
E is for Evolving. Any change in size, shape, color or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.
If you notice these warning signs, or anything NEW, CHANGING or UNUSUAL on your skin see a dermatologist promptly.
Check your body on a regular basis. Take a look at your skin every month to see if there are any changes. Look for signs of mole growth or differences.
Annual visits to the dermatologist are a great idea. Consider making an appointment with yours today.
If you’re concerned about your skin, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Educate yourself. SURVIVEiT®’s Melanoma Resource Library has lots of information you can use to help you inform yourself and advocate for yourself if you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma.