If You Spot This, You May Have Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, but fortunately, most cases can be prevented. For the record, there are over 2 million cases annually in the U.S. alone. This could indicate we’re doing a better job detecting it, or it’s increasing in incidence. But it’s likely a combination of both.

Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer

The signs and symptoms of skin cancer can be broken down into a popular acronym called the ABCDEs of skin cancer. Here’s a breakdown of each one of the letters.

A is for Asymmetry – Any spot or mole that you can’t run an imaginary line through and have it be symmetrical should be a cause for concern.

B is for Border – Any spots or moles should have smooth and regular borders. They shouldn’t be fuzzy or irregular. Any irregular edges should warrant a dermatologist’s keen eye.

C is for Color Variation – A mole should have the same shade throughout. If a mole has more than one color, that should be a cause for concern. Also, if a mole’s color changes from one shade to another over time, that’s a red flag.

D is for Diameter – Most moles won’t cause any trouble when they are under five or six millimeters – about the size of a pencil eraser. Any mole wider than this diameter should be checked. The same is true for a mole that’s expanding in size.

E is for Evolving – Moles shouldn’t evolve in shape, size, and color, and any changes should be addressed immediately. Any red or pink lesions that don’t go away within a month should also be checked by a doctor.

Preventing Skin Cancer

Covering up from the sun is the best way to prevent skin cancer. Stay indoors during the peak sun hours (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Also, wear sunscreen, along with a hat and long sleeves. An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.

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