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April 28, 2008

Monitor Your Moles For Signs Of Dangerous Skin Cancer

Topics: Medicine
Remember the alphabet. Dermatologists recommend patients consider the letters ABCDE as a guide for self-screening, and have moles exhibiting any of the following characteristics checked out: Asymmetrical shape; border that is irregular; color that is inconsistent within the mole; diameter greater than one-fourth inch; and evolving, or changing in any of the criteria above, or in any other way.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer, which usually form on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is less common, but far more dangerous. Recently, the Skin Cancer Foundation recently promoted a simple screen for identifying potentially cancerous lesions such as melanoma: Just look at the moles on your body and note ...


[BAD MARKS AND GOOD: The top left mole is benign, whereas the other three are malignant. And don't look to color as a guide to whether a mole is harmless -- in citing which characteristics to watch, dermatologists emphasize irregularities and changes. - L.A. Times]
Is one different than the others? Has a new one appeared? Some tips to help you decide when to see a dermatologist.

Wondering if you should have that mole on your arm checked out? There have been a few updates on what you should look out for. Most dermatologists now recommend the following:

* Look for "ugly ducklings." The Skin Cancer Foundation recently promoted this simple screen for identifying potentially cancerous lesions: Just look at the moles on your body and note any that look significantly different from the others -- the ugly ducklings. The ugly-duckling approach is based on the fact that most people have stereotypical mole patterns. In some people, they may all appear light brown and flat. In others, they may be darker and raised. Any mole that looks different from the others should be examined by a dermatologist.

* Look for changes. Most melanomas arise out of the blue, not from already-existing moles. Any new skin lesion is reason to head for the dermatologist's office. But some melanomas come from moles gone bad. Any change in the shape, size or color of an existing mole should also be examined.

Continue reading for more tips ...

Related reading: Skin Cancer FAQs

Cross posted from New Hope Blog

Posted by Richard at April 28, 2008 6:21 AM

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