I know some things appear with age or worsen when you step out into the sun. However, we don’t want to mistake a mole or a beauty mark for something that may be fatal like skin cancer. Look for any abnormal skin growth and any change in the color, shape, size or appearance of a skin spot. Check for any area of skin (lesion) that does not heal after an injury. If you have any concerns, see your doctor.
Melanoma is a rare but serious skin cancer, where skin cells multiply and can cause dangerous tumors. These tumors can spread and get into vital organs and can be life threatening. It is very important to make sure you know the difference between a mole and a melanoma.
Dr. Wright’s Tip
A melanoma can develop anywhere on your body and in most cases goes un-noticed. It is a serious type of skin cancer, which develops in the cells that produce melanin. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight or tanning lamps increases your risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma is more prominent in lighter skin tones, but any color of skin can develop a melanoma. A common misconception for melanoma is thinking that it is a mole, and it will be left unchecked. Get to know your moles and beauty marks. Everyone should be familiar with the A-B-C-D-E guidelines developed by the American Academy of Dermatology:
- A is for asymmetrical shape.
- B is for irregular border.
- C is for changes in color
- D is diameter.
- E is for evolving.
For more information go to www.aad.org and search for ABCDE’s of melanoma
To protect yourself from melanoma, never leave the house without sunscreen. I recommend an SPF of 30 or above. Also, if you love the outdoors, remember to reapply your sunscreen every 3-4 hours.