May is Melanoma Awareness Month

It's that time of year again.  As we all get ready to enjoy another summer of outdoor activity, we need to be reminded that  as much as we all love the sun, it doesn't always love us back.   Please do self exams and remember, while exposure to the sun can contribute to skin cancer, skin cancers can occur in parts of our body that never see the sun.   Please get to know the signs of melanoma and be sure to see a dermatologist right away if you see something suspicious. 

We ask patients to consider the ABCDE's of self exams.:

If you see one or more of these, make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately.

A - Asymmetrical Shape   

Melanoma lesions are typically irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B - Border      

Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C - Color    

The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D - Diameter    

Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

E - Evolution

The evolution of your mole(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to diagnosing a melanoma. Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

photos courtesy of the National Cancer Institute/Skin Cancer Foundation.