Most people have heard that melanoma is a very dangerous type of skin cancer. For years they have been advised to look for any moles that have changed color, shape or size. But it turns out that a lot of melanomas occur in places where there were no moles previously. How can you spot melanoma early?
Striving to Spot Melanoma as Early as Possible:
A review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that fewer than one third of melanomas start in existing moles. Of the 20,000 skin cancers that were included in the analysis, 71 percent started as a stand alone lesion. These melanomas also tended to be more aggressive than those originating around moles.
Review Your Whole Skin:
People need to pay attention to anything new or different that shows up anywhere on their skin. Enlist a partner to check those places that you cannot see, such as your back or the backs of your thighs. Use your phone to take pictures of any spots you see so you can keep track of them, but don’t wait: make an appointment with a dermatologist to have any new spots checked out right away.
How to Spot Melanoma:
One rule of thumb is to look for ABCDE. Those letters stand for Asymmetry and border irregularity. That means the spot is uneven. C stands for color variability. D is for diameter, bigger than a pencil eraser and E is for evolving. That means the spot is changing. A dermatologist should evaluate any such lesions.