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Learning the ABC's of Skin Cancer

By Expert HERWriter
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learning the skin cancer ABC's Hemera/Thinkstock

During the summer individuals and families spend time outside enjoying the wonderful weather. Beach vacations are one of the favorite pastimes for people on the east coast and probably everywhere else, too.

Since we are spending so much time outside we are more aware of our skin and the ways to protect ourselves. Since we are looking at our skin, I thought it would be a great time to give you the signs to look for skin cancer.

In medical school we learned the ABCDs to identify cancer lesions on the skin. Since then they have added E.

These characteristics are easy to see on skin lesions.

A stands for Asymmetry
Is this mole or the lesion on your skin exactly round? Or does it look different on each side? You want it to look symmetrical. That is normal.

B stands for Borders
Normal lesions will have contained borders. If you observe that the lesion has scalloped or notched edges, that is not normal.

C stands for Color
If the lesion has one color that is normal while multiple colors could mean a problem.

D stands for Diameter
Having a small lesion less than ¼ of a inch is considered normal. One that is larger than ¼ of an inch, or growing larger over time, is another sign to have the lesion checked.

E stands for Evolving
This is looking at the previous characteristics of ABCD, to see if any of them are evolving, and watching to see if there are changes over time. Evolving also includes new symptoms such as itching, bleeding or crusting on the lesion.

If you see any abnormalities of ABCD or E then it is always best to make an appointment to see your doctor to get their opinion or get further testing if necessary.

Now that you know what the signs are for skin cancer let’s talk about who is at risk for it. Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, including those of us with darker skin tones.

Those with fair skin are at higher risk, as are those that work or spend large amounts of time in the sun.

Skin cancer develops primarily on the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs.

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EmpowHER Guest

very interesting.........

October 11, 2012 - 8:52am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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