Could It Be Cancer How to Check Moles for Signs of Skin Cancer
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Could It Be Cancer How to Check Moles for Signs of Skin Cancer

Five easy steps to identify signs of skin cancer.
    Skin cancer is by far the most prevalent form of cancer found in the United States, with over one million new cases diagnosed per year. A whopping 40-50% of Americans who live to age 65 will experience skin cancer in their lifetime (American Cancer Society).

     Skin cancer often presents without any overt symptoms, therefore it is vital for everyone to perform self skin inspections in order to detect any cancerous lesions. One of the easiest ways to identify cancerous lesions on the skin is to follow the ABCDE rules of mole inspection.

  • “A” stands for “asymmetrical”. When inspecting a mole, it should usually appear to be round or oval/oblong shaped. Any mole that is not symmetrical and/or appears to be an irregular shape should be discussed with your doctor.
  • “B” stands for ”border”. Inspect the borders (edges) of your mole. Are the edges well defined? Or are the edges somewhat jagged? Is it difficult to tell where the mole ends and the skin begins? Any mole with jagged edges should be discussed with your doctor.
  • “C” stands for “color”. Each mole should only be one color. For example, most moles contain only one shade of brown. Cancerous or precancerous moles can contain multiple colors. You may see flecks of dark brown, light brown, red, black, and even blue in a mole that is cancerous. If you have a mole that is more than one color it should be discussed with your doctor.
  • “D” stands for “diameter”. Because cancer is characterized by an uncontrolled proliferation of cells, an unusually large mole may be a sign of cancer. In general, a mole should be no larger than a pencil eraser. The generally accepted maximum diameter for a mole is 6mm (1/4 in). If you have a mole that exceeds this diameter it should be discussed with your doctor.
  • “E” stands for “elevated”. Many moles lie relatively flush (flat) on the skin. However, some moles may form a “bump” on the skin. A mole that is elevated off of the surface of the skin should be discussed with your doctor.

     It is important to know that every mole that exhibits one or more of these signs is NOT cancerous. Some moles that fall into these categories are precancerous, and some are benign. It is important, however, to discuss any abnormal findings with your physician. Additionally, it is crucial to know yourself, and to know your own skin. Any new moles that you have not noticed before may be cause for concern. You should also note changes in any current moles. For example, if you notice that a mole appears to be growing or changing color over time, it should be discussed with your doctor. Skin inspections should be performed regularly so that you can easily track any changes over time. Just remember your ABCDE's of mole inspection and you can help keep your skin healthy for a lifetime!

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Comments (5)

Excellent post! I believe that some moles are signs that would tell you it could be cancer. I'm out of votes but I did buzz it up :)

Great article and informative

great article, we usually ignore ordinary things.

Yes, great

really great