The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer Screening
Skin cancer, the most common of all cancers, is a disease in which malignant cells appear in one of the layers of the skin.
Each year, more than 3.5 million people are diagnosed with types of skin cancer called basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is diagnosed in about 77,000 people in the United States and 139,870 people annually worldwide. With early detection and treatment, skin cancers are highly curable.
Remembering the ABCDEs of skin cancer screening can help you monitor your skin each month during your self-examination:
- Asymmetry: The shape of one half of a mole doesn’t match the other
- Border: Edges of a mole that are ragged, blurred or notched
- Color: Varies from one part of the mole to another. Can be black, brown, tan, blue, red, pink, white or a mixture of these colors
- Diameter: A mole width of 6mm or larger (size of a pencil eraser, though some melanomas are smaller)
- Evolving: A mole that looks different from the others; is changing in size, shape, color or texture; or is bleeding or itching