May is Skin Cancer / Melanoma Awareness Month. And, the first Monday in May is Melanoma Monday. Melanoma is a devastating disease that can be best avoided by prevention. Either avoiding sunburns and/or tanning beds or finding a mole in its earliest stages can save your life! Here is the way to find those suspicious moles!
Melanoma Warning Signs: A B C D E
To help spread awareness and make the melanoma warning signs memorable, the signs of a possible malignant mole can be abbreviated to the mnemonic: ABCDE.
A – Asymmetry: is the mole asymmetrical? If you imagine a line drawn across the center of the mole, if the two halves do not match then they are considered asymmetrical. If you have an asymmetrical mole, then seek medical assistance. My mole was only slightly asymmetrical. I could convince myself that it wasn’t a problem. By the time it was diagnosed it was deep in the tissue and cells had spread to my lymph nodes. If in doubt, get it checked out immediately.
B – Border: does the border or edge of the mole look uneven? If so, please seek medical advice. My mole wasn’t particularly uneven until you looked at it under a magnifying lens. So, it might be useful to use that tool as you look over the spots on your body!
C – Color: is the mole one uniform color? If there are several colors or shades of a color within a mole this could be a warning sign. Seek medical assistance. My mole included the colors black, blue and red.
D – Diameter: how big is the mole? Melanomas often have a diameter of 6mm (1/4inch) or more (diameter is the length across the mole). This is about the size of a pencil eraser. Mine was larger.
E – Evolving: has the mole changed in shape, size or color? Have you noticed any other changes such as bleeding, itching or puss coming from the mole? These may be signs of a malignant mole so seek medical assistance.