How to Spot Skin Cancer

As you enjoy the sunny spring and summer weather, it's important to remember that too much exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays can lead to skin cancer. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease, and the second most common type of cancer in children and teens.

If caught early, melanoma can be cured. It is recommended that you perform skin self-exams monthly.

The ABCD system can be helpful in recognizing the early symptoms of skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different from the other half.
  • Borders: The lesion or growth has irregular edges.
  • Color: Color changes from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, or black (sometimes white, red, or blue). A mixture of colors may appear within one lesion.
  • Diameter: The trouble spot is usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in diameter -- about the size of a pencil eraser.

An ounce of prevention ...

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself from the sunlight's damaging ultraviolet rays:

  • Applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, every day (during winter months as well)
  • Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses
  • Refraining from intentionally lying in the sun or using tanning devices
  • Minimizing sun exposure especially during the summer, particularly between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm



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