Thursday, October 21, 2010

The ABCD's of Melanoma

People ask me all the time what changes to look for to spot a possible melanoma. Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless - but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That's why it's so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.

The shape of one half does not match the other.

The edges are often ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular in outline; the pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.

The color is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, grey, red, pink, or blue also may be seen.

There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas are usually larger than the eraser of a pencil (1/4 inch or 5 millimeters).

1 comment:

jwoodbri said...

Don't forget E!!! E is for evolving. You should notify your dermatologist of any change. New moles, growths or old ones changing in the ways mentioned above or becoming itchy or bleeding.

My melanoma was perfectly round, smooth, and flesh-colored. But it appeared quickly seemingly our of nowhere on my arm. Had I know about the E I might have gone in sooner before I became stage 3! (It looked so innocent even the dermatologist was sure it was nothing.)

Here's a pretty good link with pictures of self skin exam too.