What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in skin cells called melanocytes that produce the skin-darkening pigment, melanin. Sun exposure, aging, and environmental factors can cause genetic changes that make these cells cancerous.
Women see the majority of melanoma lesions on their legs, while men typically get in on sun-exposed parts of the back. However, they can affect any part of the body.
The ABCDE Rule of Skin Cancer
The ABCDE rule of skin cancer is a technique Cochise Oncology patients can use to identify possible instances of skin cancer. Unlike normal blemishes, melanomas have a unique appearance.
A – Asymmetry
Skin cancer usually first appears as a mole on the skin before it burrows down and spreads to the rest of the body. Regular moles are usually symmetrical. But cancerous spots tend to have irregular shapes. If you notice dramatic shape changes, come to Cochise Oncology for a full diagnosis.
B – Border
The next step is to check the border of the spot. Most moles have smooth borders. However, cancerous melanomas often have jagged or irregular outlines.
C – Color
Now take a look at the color of the spot. Is it all the same? Or are there alternating dark and light patches? If the color varies considerably, it could again be a sign of cancer.
D – Diameter
Unless you have a birthmark, spots shouldn’t be larger than the size of a pea. If you notice a spot is getting bigger than this, it could indicate the development of cancer.
E – Evolution
The final step is to check whether the spot is changing over time. Usually, moles will maintain a consistent appearance for a long time. Some can fade away altogether. However, if you notice a big change in the appearance of a mole within the space of a couple of weeks or months, you should get it checked. It could be a sign of cancer at work.