Of all the cancers, skin cancer is the most common. The statistics are troubling:
- 20% of all Americans will get skin cancer by the time they reach age 70
- Your risk of developing deadly melanoma doubles if you’ve accidentally been sunburned five times or more
Sadly, in the United States, at least two people die each hour from this pernicious cancer, and research suggests the rate of new cases will be on the rise in 2020. That’s why our team at Desert West Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada is ardent about helping you identify dangerous skin conditions. We are passionate about educating our patients so you can monitor and safeguard the health of your skin.
In this blog, we’ll help you understand how to use the ABCDE method to identify growths and moles that may be threatening.
The alphabet of early detection
If there is a pro to skin cancer, you can see it and hopefully catch it before it grows. In many cases, it’s highly treatable if detected early. Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate your moles, blemishes, and growths:
A - Asymmetry
Check to see if your new or preexisting mole is asymmetrical, meaning one side does not match the other side.
B - Borders
Are the edges and borders of your mole hard to define? Examine your mole or growth to see if the edges are blurred, fuzzy, or if there are irregularities around them.
C - Color
Look closely at your mole to see if there are variations in the color. If you can see different shades of brown, black, or pink, it’s a warning sign.
D - Diameter
Experts warn that any growth or mole that’s bigger than a pencil eraser needs to be checked.
E - Evolving
Any change, small or large, in shape, size, color, or elevation, is concerning. This also includes new symptoms or problems, such as crusting, bleeding, itching, or oozing.
Treating problematic moles
If you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma, one of our experienced surgeons removes it and takes some of the surrounding tissues, called margins, with it. If those margins show no signs of cancer, we’ll monitor the area and ask you to keep a close watch on the area using the ABCDE method.
If your margins aren’t clear, we’ll go back in to extract more of the tissues and edges and possibly some lymph nodes. Depending on the severity of the situation, we may advise you to get radiation therapy, and possibly chemotherapy.
To learn more about how we can help you prevent or manage skin cancer or treat melanoma, call the location closest to you, or book your appointment online.