2017 has come. Along with a host of New Year's resolutions. Maybe some are on your list -- get to the gym, eat healthier, drink more water, sleep more, and of course, have your moles examined. Didn't make that resolution? You should. Early detection of melanoma, a type of skin cancer that can be deadly, is essential. When caught early, it is nearly 100% curable.
Do you check your moles at home? Do they have any signs of the ABCD's?
This stands for:
A: asymmetry - when you draw a line down the middle of the mole, the sides do not match
B: border - the mole is not round; it has an irregular, jagged outline
C: color - there are different shades of brown, tan, black, red in the mole
D: diameter - the mole is larger than 6 mm, the size of a pencil eraser (although they can be smaller)
Moles that exhibit these signs may be dysplastic, or atypical, or Clark's nevi. These moles themselves are generally benign. However, people that have them are at increased risk of developing melanoma. The more dysplastic nevi someone has, the higher their risk of developing melanoma is.
So what does this mean?
People with dysplastic moles need to be seen more frequently by their dermatologist for full skin exams. They (and everyone else) also need to check their moles for:
E: evolution - the mole is changing - size, color, shape, itching, bleeding, turning black, etc.
This could be a sign of a melanoma and needs to be evaluated right away.
So pick up the phone and schedule a full body skin examination. Tell your friends and family to do the same. And start the new year off right.