The first Monday of May is Melanoma Monday, designed to raise awareness about the dangers of melanoma, which is an aggressive form of skin cancer which often develops from an existing mole. If left untreated, melanoma can spread rapidly to other areas of the body.
Did you know that melanoma:
- is the most deadly form of cancer.
- accounts for about 75% of all skin cancer fatalities.
- can develop in other areas of the body such as the eye, underneath nails and inside the nose and mouth.
- incidences seem to be increasing in recent years.
- is most common in people with fair skin and those who have had high levels of UV exposure.
It is important for people to understand the risks of melanoma and encourage early detection.
The ABCDE’s of Melanoma
Use the following to see if any of your moles have atypical features:
A = Asymmetry. Is the mole symmetrical or is one half unlike the other?
B = Border. Is the border irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined?
C = Color. Is the color uniform or varied from one area to another? Are there shades of tan, brown, or black or even sometimes white, red, or blue?
D = Diameter. How big is the mole? Is the mole greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser)?
E = Evolving. Has the mole changed in shape, size or color? A mole or skin lesion that has some other changes, such as bleeding, itching or drainage coming from it, may also be a sign.
Treatment is possible
It’s true. We can successfully treat melanoma but only when detected very early. Unlike most other cancers, melanoma doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If found in later stages, when the melanoma cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized), treatment options become extremely limited.
The bottom line
If you have a mole that’s changed, schedule an appointment for evaluation. Feel free to contact us about this or any medical and cosmetic dermatological service.