You know taking care of your health means consuming a healthy diet and building strong muscles through regular exercise. However, part of being healthy also means taking care of your largest organ: your skin. You can reduce your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers by wearing sunscreen every day, covering your skin with long sleeves and long pants and staying cool in the shade whenever possible. You can also protect your skin by learning the warning signs of skin cancer. Early detection is the key to successful treatment.
What are the signs of melanoma?
Learn the A, B, C, D, and E’s of skin cancer. These include:
- A – Asymmetry. Asymmetry is a warning sign of melanoma. If you draw an imaginary line through the center of a mole and the two halves do not match, you could have a melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer.
- B – Border. Moles that have a scalloped or notched border may be early melanomas. Moles with well-defined, smooth borders are generally benign and are not cause for concern.
- C – Color. Most benign moles are a single shade of brown, however, moles that have a variety of browns, reds, blues or whites may be another warning sign of melanoma.
- D – Diameter. Benign moles are usually smaller in diameter, while melanomas are larger (approximately ¼ inch), however, it is important to get annual checkups because melanomas may be smaller when they first appear.
- E – Evolving. For the most part, benign moles to do not change overtime, but melanomas do. They can change in size, shape, color or height. Affected moles may also itch, bleed or crust.
People with more than 100 moles are at a higher risk of melanoma. Whether you have many moles or a few, it is equally important to get to know your skin so you can quickly recognize any changes. Look for these warning signs of skin cancer and if you notice any changes, contact your doctor for an appointment.
If you have concerns about the health of your skin, schedule an appointment with a HOPE Cancer Center specialist. Call 903.592.6152 today. We see new patients quickly and offer pharmacy services in-house.