Melanoma Monday: Be Your Own Skin Cancer Hero
May 7, 2018 /
Melanoma Monday is marked by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) on the first Monday in May to raise awareness of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Although melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, it is highly treatable when detected early. The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years. More than 91,000 new melanomas are estimated to be diagnosed in 2018.
The AAD is encouraging women to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer through their SPOT Skin Cancer campaign – “Check Your Partner. Check Yourself.” Research shows that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others. This is especially important for men over 50 as they have an increased risk of developing melanoma. (Check out this humorous video the AAD put together illustrating the differences in observation between men and women.)
When checking your or your partner’s skin, you should take note of all the spots on the body, including moles, freckles and age spots. You want to record these spots so you can easily and regularly track changes. Checking your partner’s body front and back including elbows, forearms, underarms, palms, neck, scalp, back, buttocks, legs and feet can help identify any warning signs. Check out this detailed infographic (also shown below) of how to perform regular skin cancer exams.
Another thing to keep in mind when performing skin cancer exams is the ABCDE’s of melanoma.
A=Asymmetry – one half is unlike the other half
B=Border – the mole has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border
C=Color – is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue
D=Diameter – melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller
E=Evolving – a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color
If you happen to notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches or bleeds, you should contact a board-certified dermatologist.
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