As the number of Americans diagnosed with skin cancer continues to rise, individuals need to know what to look for and when to see their dermatologist, particularly when facing the most deadly form — Melanoma. With no regard for age, race or gender, Melanoma is projected to affect over 178,000 Americans this year, with nearly 91,000 cases considered invasive, as reported by the Melanoma Research Foundation. Consider the following:
- Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer deaths in young women ages 25-30 and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women ages 30-35.
- The incidence of people under age 30 that are developing Melanoma is increasing faster than any other demographic group.
- Each year, approximately 500 children are diagnosed with Melanoma.
Given the alarming statistics and numbers regarding Melanoma, dermatologists and skin cancer specialists are devoting more time to patient education and awareness. While limiting one’s exposure to the sun is paramount, it’s also important to understand that indoor tanning in a tanning bed amplifies the risk of developing Melanoma, particularly when done so before age 30.
The ABCDEs Of Melanoma
Often used by dermatologists to classify Melanoma and other skin cancers, the ABCDEs of Melanoma are explained below.
A – Contrary to benign moles or lesions, Melanoma appears Asymmetrical, not Symmetrical.
B – For the most part, non-cancerous moles have smooth borders or edges. Yet, Melanoma lesions have irregular borders that are difficult to define.
C – While benign moles are usually one color, such as brown or tan, others may appear to have several colors (blue, black, brown or tan). When colors are unevenly distributed, this might be a sign of Melanoma.
D – Typically, Melanoma lesions are greater than 6mm in diameter, or the size of a pencil eraser.
E – Finally, as the most critical factor in diagnosing skin cancer, the evolution of a mole or lesion may point to Melanoma. Therefore, if an individual notices that a mole or skin lesion changes in color, shape or size, it is very important to see a dermatologist quickly.
At Kayal Dermatology in Marietta, GA, Dr. Kayal understands that treatment of Melanoma is most effective in its earliest stage. While skin cancer can affect anyone, individuals with a family history of Melanoma, or ones that have fair skin, freckles or moles should commit to annual screenings. In addition, if a mole or lesion appears suspect, it’s important to schedule an appointment right away. Ultimately, recognizing Melanoma early can save an individual’s life.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kayal and the team at Kayal Dermatology, call today.