Be a skin cancer sleuth

Be a skin cancer sleuth

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Beauty, Wellness

Be a skin cancer sleuth by checking your skin regularly for signs of cancer. Skin cancer, including melanoma, is curable if spotted early. A careful skin exam may identify suspicious growths that may be cancer or growths that may develop into skin cancer (precancers). It’s important to do self-exams of your skin regularly so you can prevent skin cancer from becoming a major health battle. 


Skin self-exams are as easy as ABC (and D and E). 

  • Examine your skin once every month. 

  • Get to know your moles and birthmarks. Look for any abnormal skin growth and any change in the color, shape, size, or appearance of a skin growth. 

  • Check for any area of skin that does not heal after an injury. 

  • Ask your doctor to check your skin during health exams. 

  • Bring any suspicious skin growths or changes in a mole to the attention of your doctor. 


The ABCDEs of melanoma skin cancer are: 

  • Asymmetry 

  • Border irregularity 

  • Color 

  • Diameter 

  • Evolution 


A – Asymmetry 

One half of the spot or growth doesn't match the appearance of the other half. 


B – Border irregularity 

The edges are ragged, notched or blurred. 


C – Color 

The color (pigmentation) is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown and black are present. Dashes of red, white and blue add to a mottled appearance.


D – Diameter 

The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm), which is about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated. 


E – Evolution 

There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding) or color of a mole. 


Talk to your doctor. 

If you notice any of these ABCDEs, be sure to talk with your doctor. The earlier you diagnose skin cancer, the better your chances are for effective treatment.  





Ready to get healthy?

Sign up for our digital newsletter to receive health tips, recipes, success stories for inspiration and information about new doctors to help you on your journey to better health.


Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.