The experts today believe that we check our skin every month for signs of skin cancer and melanoma. This will make sure that we can detect a mole or freckle that is changing shape, colour and growing, we should then watch it carefully.
While a dermatologist is the only person who can distinguish between a normal mole and an abnormal one, there are certain things we need to do on our own to predetermine a trouble making blemish.
Melanoma is considered to affect white skinned people alone but this is not true it can affect anyone irrespective of skin colour. It is also not restricted to those who are exposed to the sun regularly. It is genetics and a family history that is of all importance to predetermine if a person will get cancer.
The ABCDE Rule of skin cancer and melanoma
The ABCDE Rule is a helpful tool that can make identification of abnormalities when examining moles, freckles and other blemishes on the body more easy. Each letter represents abnormal characteristics – asymmetry, border, colour, diameter and evolution.
Asymmetry: Normal moles and freckles will be completely symmetrical and if we were to draw a line through one, the two halves would be symmetrical. Rarely in some cases will the two halves not be the same looking.
Border: Observe if the border of your skin blemishes and if it has an irregular, jagged or blurry appearance. If so then it can be cancer.
Colour: Normal moles will be uniform in colour whereas cancerous growth may be indicated by lightening or darkening of tone. Moles are abnormal when they show more than one colour or different shades.
Diameter: If a mole grows to a size of a pencil eraser (about ¼ inch) it is considered to be a cancer growth.
Evolution: Any change in the symmetry, borders, colours or diameter of a mole already existing is called an evolution. Elevation happens when the mole grows and elevates showing variation in height.
Presently the doctors have started adding the letter ‘F’ to the above list. The ‘F’ stands for funny looking. A changing mole presents various shapes and called funny looking. If it is dry, itchy and irritating all the more care should be taken to identify and treat it.
If at all you come across a mole or freckle anywhere on the body, don’t panic but calmly examine it and if you feel apprehensive of it simply make an appointment with your doctor. Sometimes it may all be a false alarm and even then early detection is the way to prevent can overcome cancer.