Melanoma: The ABCs of Early Detection


Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, accounts for 75 percent of deaths from skin cancer each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. However, melanoma rarely strikes without warning signs. Using the first five letters of the alphabet, the Skin Cancer Foundation devised an easy way to guide us through the early warning signs of the cancer.

A – Asymmetry (if you draw a line through the mole the two sides won’t match)
B – Border (early melanoma moles have uneven edges)
C – Color (a variety of colors or shades of brown, tan or black is a warning sign; melanoma can also turn red, blue or some other abnormal color)
D – Diameter (melanoma is usually larger in diameter than the size of a pencil’s eraser – ¼ inch – but they may also be smaller when first detected)
E – Evolving (any change in size, shape, color, elevation or other trait – new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting – is a major red flag)

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