Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but many people ignore their risks. Dr. Cathy Newman, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, offers a simple way to evaluate marks on your skin to see if they might be skin cancer.
Dr. Newman says more than 1 million Americans have melanoma right now or a history of it.
“Melanoma is more common in the sun-exposed areas, but … it can be other places,” she says. “So one of the big things that we push in Dermatology is trying to get people to look at all their skin – not just the sun-exposed areas.”
And check regularly, because the earlier you catch a melanoma, the easier it is to treat.
Dr. Newman says to remember the A, B, C, D, Es of melanoma when you’re checking.
“A” is for “asymmetry”: One half is unlike the other half.
“B” is for “border irregularity”: If a mole starts developing a tail or irregular borders.
“C” is for “color”: If a mole changes color, doesn’t match the color of other moles or varies color from one area to another.
“D” is for “diameter”: If a mole starts getting bigger.
And “E” is for “evolving”: Keep checking for any other changes in a mole.
But don’t just check for it. Protect against it.
“We are very big advocates of patients using sun protection, and that includes shade, hats, sunscreen,” Dr. Newman says.