In grade school, you learned your ABCs and now it’s time you knew your ABCDEs (a guide to spotting melanoma). The acronym stands for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolution (change).Symptoms of melanoma and other skin cancers vary from person to person, but if you suspect that a spot on your skin falls within the guidelines above or fits the descriptions below, talk to your doctor right away. Note that not all skin cancers and melanomas fall into these categories, so use this information as a general outline of what to look for when you #GETNAKED for your monthly self-screenings. If you have naturally darker skin, it’s important to note that melanoma most often occurs on non-exposed skin with less pigment, like the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, mucous membranes and nail regions (hands and feet).
- A change on the skin—this could be a new spot, or a change in color, shape or size of a current spot
- A spot, sore or mole that doesn’t heal
- A spot, sore or mole that becomes painful or tender
- A mole that becomes itchy or begins to bleed
- A spot, sore, mole or lump that looks shiny, waxy, smooth or pale
- A firm red lump that bleeds or appears ulcerated or crusty
- A flat, red spot that is rough, dry or scaly
- A black/dark spot or streak under a fingernail or toenail (that doesn’t come from previous trauma to the nail)
Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips from the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF):
- Check your skin thoroughly—even the places that never see the sun—including your scalp, nails, bottoms of your feet and between your fingers, where moles can be missed or overlooked.
- Take a look at the MRF’s Self-Screening Guide for a ‘how-to’ on self-skin examinations!
- Pay attention to your skin and know what is normal for YOU! Bring any mole or lesion that is new or changing to the attention of your dermatologist right away.
- Choose a dermatologist who has experience with or specializes in melanoma.
– S A D Y E E V Y N R E I S H
SOURCE: All information in this post is from the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), which started #GETNAKED as an early detection campaign designed to raise awareness about melanoma and the importance of being proactive—instead of reactive—about your health. According MRF, catching melanoma early can save your life.
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HEADER GRAPHIC MODEL: Kachet Jackson-Henderson of The Lipstick Giraffe