Wellness Matters

ABCDE of Skin Cancer

May 05, 2017

ABCDE of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the world, and, unfortunately, we tend to accumulate growths and/or spots on our skin from cumulative sun damage as we age. Some of these spots are benign and some are cancerous; therefore, it is important to be able to distinguish which spots may be harmful. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Out of those three, basal cell is most common, but the most serious type is melanoma.

Individuals should examine their skin for a new spot, bump or growth that itches, burns, bleeds or changes color or size. Specifically, with melanoma, individuals should use the ABCDE guidelines when examining their bodies:

A – Asymmetry

B – Border Irregularity

C – Color variation and/or change

D – Diameter more than 6 mm (pencil eraser size) and/or change in diameter

E – Evolving – a history of change

New, rapidly growing or changing moles that bleed should be examined by a dermatologist.

If you are concerned about a spot or growth on your skin, it is important to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or a dermatologist as soon as possible to be professionally examined. Like all cancer, the sooner it’s detected, the better the treatment outcomes.

About the author

David Kowalski, MD is a dermatologist with the Alamance Skin Center.


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