Do You Know How To Spot Skin Cancer?

skin-cancerIt is estimated that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the course of their lifetime; one person dies from melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - every hour. Do you know how to detect skin cancer?

The American Academy of Dermatology not only encourages people to learn how to look for skin cancer, they have also come up with an early detection way to do so. Known as The ABCDE Rule it is designed to outline the warning signs of melanoma:

The ABCDE Rule

  • A is for Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.

  • B is for Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.

  • C is for Color. The color varies from one area to another.

  • D is for Diameter. While melanomas are usually greater than six millimeters - the size of a pencil eraser - when diagnosed, they can be smaller.

  • E is for Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.


The academy, through its SPOT Skin Cancer campaign, encourages people to invest in their health and spot skin cancer early, when it is most treatable. If you see anything on your skin that is changing, itching or bleeding, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable," says board-certified dermatologist Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, and president of the American Academy of Dermatology. "Despite this, many people don't know how to be their own detective when it comes to skin cancer, including what to look for on their skin or when they should see a dermatologist. Although skin cancer is more common among people with light or fair skin, everyone is at risk of getting this life-threatening disease.

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