Warmer weather is just around the corner, and so should our vigilance for sun protection and skin cancer. There are several types of skin cancers, but malignant melanoma is the most fatal form of them all as it can invade through the skin and spread throughout the body. Fortunately though, early detection results in a high cure rate (about 90%), which is why we will go over the ABCDEs of melanomas.
These tips can help you distinguish between benign (i.e. non-cancerous) and malignant (i.e. potentially cancerous) moles, although speak to your family doctor if there are any concerns - early detection and treatment is critical towards positive outcomes.
These are not hard and fast rules, and not every melanoma will exhibit all of these signs. Another good tip is to use the ‘ugly duckling’ sign which suggests a mole to be of concern if it does not look like all the other moles. Although the recognition of melanoma is valuable, practicing good sun safety is more important, so wear your hat and slop on that sunscreen!
For more information, check out this poster from the Canadian Dermatology Association. If you have more questions, feel free to talk to your Magenta Health family doctor. Our doctors are also currently accepting new patients.
Images taken from http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma