Skin Health

It’s Melanoma Monday!

May 5th 2014 is Melanoma Monday, and the entire month of May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, according to a release from the American Academy of Dermatology. (The observances are registered trademarks of the academy).


The academy encourages all of us to learn how to detect skin cancer.  An estimated one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the course of their lifetime, and one person dies from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – every hour.

The release quotes, Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and president of the Academy, as saying, “When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Despite this, many people don’t know how to be their own detective when it comes to skin cancer, including what to look for on their skin or when they should see a dermatologist.”

To increase people’s chances of spotting skin cancer early, the Academy recommends everyone learn the ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:

*A– is for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.

*B– is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.

*C– is for Color that varies from one area to another.

*D– is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.

*E– is for Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

“Although skin cancer is more common among people with light or fair skin, everyone is at risk of getting this life-threatening disease,” said Dr. Coldiron. “SPOT Skin Cancer™ encourages people to invest in their health and spot skin cancer early, when it is most treatable. If you see anything on your skin that is changing, itching or bleeding, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”

To further learn how to spot skin cancer, visit the Academy’s SPOT Skin Cancer™ website for valuable information and resources on skin cancer prevention and detection, including:

  • A How to SPOT Skin Cancer™infographic containing tips on how to perform a skin cancer self-exam
  • The SPOT Skin Cancer™ Quiz to test how much you know – or don’t know – about skin cancer
  • How to finda free skin cancer screening in your area: nearly 500 screenings are available nationwide in May
  • A How to Select a Sunscreeninfographic with tips for choosing a sunscreen that reduces your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging