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

have had a mole forever, but that it recently started bleeding and then ultimately turns out to be a skin cancer. She added that a classic example of an evolving skin cancer is a man who notices a mole that begins bleeding while he is shaving. This can be a basal cell carcinoma, a squamous cell carcinoma or a melanoma. All three are serious and can be cured if caught early.

"Melanoma can be on the skin for a long time before it 'misbehaves' and gives patients a clue that it may be a lesion that needs to be addressed," said Dr. Marmur. "We find that people who check their skin regularly -- looking for the warning signs of skin cancer and taking note of any changes -- are more likely to spot skin cancer in its earliest stages before it spreads."

The Academy's Body Mole Map is a tool individuals can use to track their moles. The map provides information on how to perform a skin exam, images of the ABCDEs of melanoma and space for people to track their moles to determine any changes over time. Free downloads of the Body Mole Map are available at http://www.melanomamonday.org.

Dr. Marmur also encourages her patients to involve a family member or partner in skin exams, which can help people thoroughly examine their skin in hard-to-reach spots and help them decide if a lesion seems to be evolving over time. In her practice, Dr. Marmur estimates that patients report that they are getting a suspicious mole checked at the urging of another person about five times per week -- with men representing the largest group of referrals.

"My favorite example is of a daughter who had been trying to get her mother to come in to get a suspicious mole on her back checked, but the mother was very reluctant because she didn't like going to the doctor," said Dr. Marmur. "Before the daughter went off to college, she asked her mom to make her an appointment at my office to get a spot on her face checked that s
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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