ABC's Of Skin Cancer

Written by michelle guzman
Monday, 01 September 2008 00:00
In todays society, women are more health conscientious than ever. However, some do not take early skin care as seriously as they should. The mirror reflects young, fresh, skin that seemingly requires little attention. Oh, but do not be fooled, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. If you learn how to take care of your skin, you will reduce your chances of becoming a skin cancer victim.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million Americans develop skin cancer annually. In fact, between 40 and 50 percent of people that live to the age of 65 will have some form of skin cancer at least once. This is an alarming statistic. When you are in your early twenties, it is hard to fathom what will happen when you are older. The truth is you can develop skin cancer at a young age as well. Therefore, it is wise to arm yourself with the knowledge of skin cancer detection. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Just like any other organ, you need to protect it so your years will be long and healthy.

You can detect signs of skin cancer by self-examination or by visiting a dermatologist. When detected early, there is an approximate cure rate of 95%. Self- examination performed regularly is the key to saving your life. You will need a handheld mirror, a full-length mirror, and a room that has plenty of light.

There are many different signs of skin cancer. Becoming familiar with every mole, freckle, etc. will help you detect changes that are of concern. Practice the ABCDs of Melanoma detection.

Asymmetry – Does one half of a mole look different from the other?

Border Irregularity – Is the edge (border) of the mole ragged, notched, or blurred?

Color – Does the mole have variety of hues and colors within the same lesion?

Diameter – What is the size of the mole? While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) in diameter when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole different from others, or which changes, itches, or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6 millimeters, you should see a dermatologist.

If you are concerned that you may not be able to detect changes on your own, a dermatologist can examine you to diagnose any problems. There are many risk factors such as fair skin, many moles or freckles, family history, previous sunburns that were severe, etc. Whichever method of detection you choose, make sure you take every precaution to avoid the risks, check often, and know every inch of your body.
Last Updated ( Friday, 05 September 2008 06:12 )