Lower your cancer concern for moles by following alphabetical clues
It’s not always practical to head to the doctor's office every time a new spot shows up on your skin. But there are ways to help evaluate whether the spot or mole deserves special attention, says Dr. Clay Cockerell, a dermapathologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center whose lab evaluates suspicious skin biopsies.
“If you have concerns, it’s worth having your physician take a look, but there are certain indicators, dubbed the ABCDE’s of skin cancer, that signal the need for closer scrutiny from an expert,” Dr. Cockerell says.
Start by standing in front of a full length mirror and take note of moles that you’ve always had. Then check out blemishes for:
- Asymmetry – moles that don’t look the same on each side;
- Borders on moles that are irregular, jagged or blurry;
- Colors that are inconsistent, such as areas that are darker, multiple colors such as blue, purple, red, or gray or that change appearances;
- Diameter of moles larger than a quarter inch or the head of an eraser; or
- Evolving lesions, namely, lesions that are not stable and are changing even if they are small.
“Any of those indicators individually and certainly together warrant a trip to the doctor,” Dr. Cockerell says.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/dermatology to learn more about clinical services in dermatology at UT Southwestern.
June 6 is National Cancer Survivors Day, now in its 23rd year of observance.
Media Contact: Russell Rian
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