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American Academy of Dermatology: Stop Skin Cancer On The Spot
Date:11/13/2008

ee on the surface of your skin at its earliest stage, performing regular skin self-examinations is an easy way to detect any suspicious spots that could be cancerous. To enhance a patient's ability to detect the warning signs of skin cancer, the Academy is refining the ABCDs of melanoma detection by adding an "E." The letter "E" stands for Evolving -- a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color. This is in addition to other qualities of moles for which individuals should check their skin -- Asymmetry (one half unlike the other half), Border (irregular, scalloped or poorly defined), Color (varies from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue), and Diameter (the size of a pencil eraser or larger). If a mole exhibits any of these characteristics, it should be brought to a dermatologist's attention.

An analysis of 2001-2005 data from the Academy's National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Screening Program supports the need for people to watch their moles for changes. A study of the data published in the July 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found those who indicated they had a mole that changed recently in size, color or shape were two times more likely to be diagnosed with a suspected melanoma.

"Some melanomas don't show any other abnormalities except that they are evolving over time," said Dr. Marmur. "It's not unusual for people to wait until a melanoma has grown significantly to see a dermatologist, and unfortunately, that sometimes means the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. I am confident lives will be saved by encouraging people to bring their evolving moles to the attention of a dermatologist. And I have been able to save lives purely because a partner or spouse has detected a changing lesion on someone who rushed in for a biopsy and curative surgery."

Dr. Marmur explained she sees numerous patients who say that they
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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