Examining Your SkinRead Now
May is skin cancer awareness month. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that an estimated 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. I recommend that patients perform a monthly self skin exam in addition to their regular skin checks with me. I instruct my patients to look out for the ABCDEs of Melanoma. A for asymmetry, or one half of the mole is unlike the other, B for the border becoming irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined, C for color changes, including color that is varied from one area of the mole to another, or a mole that contains mulitple colors including brown and black and sometimes white, red, or blue, D for diameter indicating a mole that is enlarging, especially one greater than 6 mm (larger than the size of a pencil eraser), and E for evolving, meaning any mole or skin lesion that looks different from the others or is changing in size, shape, or color, or becoming symptomatic (ie, tenderness, itching, or bleeding). Also any non-healing sores or new moles found during your self-exam should prompt a call or follow-up to your dermatologist. Early detection is best, as skin cancer that is caught early is highly treatable.
See the video from the American Academy of Dermatology below to learn more about performing a self skin exam.
2/10/2022 01:03:00 am
Thank you for sharing that one of the benefits of seeing a pediatric dermatologist is that they can determine the skin health of our children. My daughter mentioned she has been experiencing acne and eczema. Maybe she can see a dermatologist so that she knows what remedy works for her best.
8/15/2022 10:59:45 am
I noticed a really odd looking mole on my body. It's good to know that an asymmetrical mole like this might be worth looking into. It would be a good idea to ensure that I handle things properly.
10/26/2022 02:19:05 pm
It really helped when you elaborated on regular skin checks and what kind of moles should be a concern to you. Recently, my wife told me she's worried about a mole that she found on her collarbone, so just to make sure everything's in order, we'll find a specialist to get a skin check for her. Thank you for describing how color-changing moles should be checked out every time.
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Kathryn O'Reilly, MD, PhD