Learning the ABCDE rule for skin cancer can save your life!
Finding melanoma early is the key to curing this terrible disease. That is why learning the ABCDE rule for skin cancer is so important. This system provides and easy way to recognize moles and growths that might be cancerous.
Although most of your "suspicious" moles will turn out to be normal non-cancerous moles, it is much better to be safe than sorry. To not see, or simply ignore an early melanoma can be devastating. Because melanoma can disguise itself as a strange looking mole, be sure to review the ABCDE rule for skin cancer to properly identify abnormal growths.
If your mole or growth has one or more of the ABCDE's, you should show it to your doctor as soon as possible!
The basic ABCDE warning signs to determine whether a mole is a melanoma are as follows, (American Academy of Dermatology, AAD 2009):
Pictures of the ABCDE rule for skin cancer
A - Asymmetry: Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two symmetrical halves. In cases of skin cancer, spots don't look the same on both sides.
B - Border: A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges.
C - Color: A mole that is more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Normal spots are usually one color. This can include lightening or darkening of the mole. Melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin, which accounts for the cancers appearing in mixed shades of tan, brown and black.
D - Diameter: If it is larger than a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), it needs to be examined by a doctor. This is includes areas that do not have any other abnormalities (color, border, asymmetry). But, don't be fooled by size alone - it can be smaller.
E - Elevation/Evolving: Elevation means the mole is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface. Looks different from the rest or changing in size, shape, color.
In addition, there are other features of melanoma such as surface changes (bleeding, oozing, flaking) or signs of itchiness, pain, or tenderness. After examining the mole, if your doctor thinks the mole is a melanoma, then a biopsy will be performed for further analysis.
Basically, any mole or growth that is CHANGING needs to be checked by a physician.
There are also some very good photos of the ABCDE rule for skin cancer on SolarEvents.com.
Remember, these photos are for guidance only. Just because what you have on your own skin may or may not look similar to any of these pictures does not confirm any diagnosis. Diagnosis is much more complex, and if you have doubts or questions you need to seek professional advice.
The ABCDE rule for skin cancer is a very good guideline to follow, but there is so much more to know about
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