Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Learn Your ABCDs (of Skin Cancer Prevention, Silly!)

Regular examinations are key to noticing potential areas of concern when it comes to skin cancer. While it's a good idea to have a doctor do an exam yearly, self-exams are also vital. Have your husband, mother, sister or a really good friend help you with hard to see areas, and don't forget to check "hidden" places like the soles of your feet, between your toes & fingers, and on your scalp.

So, once you're looking, how do you know what's normal and what's not? Know your ABCDs, that's how- it's an easy mnemonic to help you remember the red-flags that should send you straight to your friendly neighborhood dermatologist.

  • A is for Asymmetry- Regular moles are uniform in shape- if you notice that one half of the mole is different than the other half, have it checked.
  • B is for Border- Edges of healthy moles or nodules are smooth & well defined. Notched, uneven, or blurred edges may be cause for alarm.
  • C is for Color- "Normal" moles are composed of one shade, where as unevenly colored moles that combine different shades of tan, brown and black should be examined.
  • D is for Diameter- the size around the mole shouldn't be larger than 6 millimeters. If you don't have a metric ruler handy, that's about the size of a pencil eraser.
Now you know your ABCDs, go do a check and stay healthy! (Sing it right, folks!)

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