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Skin Cancer Checks

An annual skin check is your first line of defense against skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting one in five Americans at some time in their lives. As with all cancer, early detection is essential to diagnosis and treatment. Early detection can save your life. The challenge is simple: it’s frankly difficult to check all parts of your body such as your scalp, neck and back.

During a skin check with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Swetha Kandula, she’ll examine your body and be able to evaluate any suspicious looking spots that look potentially dangerous/ concerning. In addition, the skin check creates a record, that can be referenced in the future, to monitor changes in spots as you progress.

What are the ABCDEs?

The ABCDE’s of moles and suspicious growths are warning signs that signal the development of potentially malignant changes. They are designed to help one recognize potential skin cancers early when they are most easily cured.

Dr. Kandula will look for these signs and symptoms in moles and skin lesions during your skin check. Any growth that causes pain or bleeding and won’t heal is cause for concern. If you spot a lesion that manifests the signs of ABCDEs during a self-check, treat that as an alert to seek the professional opinion of a board-certified dermatologist.

  1. Asymmetrical Shape. Normal moles and colored growths are usually symmetrical (even on both halves) and are smaller than ¼ inch in size.  A hallmark of melanoma is a mole that changes from a symmetrical shape to an irregular shape. A change in shape is just one feature of a potentially malignant growth.
  2. B Blemishes and marks are typically round or oval and have smooth borders. Notched, blurry or ragged borders are a sign of a precancerous growth or cancer.
  3. C Benign moles are uniform in color. A mole with more than a single color is suspicious. Color changes are a sign of trouble. Melanomas usually show a mix of two or more colors or shades of brown and black, or it may be red or blue.
  4. D Melanomas are larger than most moles. A mole or growth that is larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter suggests melanoma.
  5. E Benign moles look the same over time. A mole that is evolving its shape, color, or size or that develops a new symptom like bleeding, itching or crusting is more likely to be dangerous.

Skin cancer by the numbers

One in forty white women are likely to develop melanoma. Hispanic women have a higher incidence of melanoma. In women melanomas typically develop on their legs. By age 50, men are more likely to develop melanoma than women. Men at any age are twice as likely to die of melanoma than women. When caught early melanoma is almost always curable. When you have a skin cancer concern, contact medical dermatologist Dr. Swetha Kandula in Parsippany-Troy Hills.