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We know we need to monitor our skin at home to watch for suspicious changes, but what exactly should we be looking for?

Enter the ABCDEs of melanoma: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. These are warning signs of atypical moles or melanoma, and they can help guide to better monitor our skin at home. Remember, when in doubt, have it checked out!

A – Asymmetry: Unlike healthy moles that have a balanced and uniform shape, atypical moles can be asymmetrical. When one half of a mole doesn’t mirror the other half, it’s worth keeping an eye on. Asymmetry is one of the first indicators that a mole might be abnormal and could potentially be melanoma.

B – Border: When examining your moles, pay close attention to their borders. Benign moles usually have smooth, even edges. In contrast, melanoma or atypical moles often have irregular, notched, or scalloped borders. This irregularity can be a red flag signaling the need for further examination by a dermatologist.

C – Color: A healthy mole tends to be a single shade of brown, while atypical moles and melanoma can exhibit multiple colors or uneven color distribution. If you notice moles with varying shades of brown, black, or even red, blue, or white, it’s time to consult with a dermatologist.

D – Diameter: Size matters when it comes to moles. Generally, benign moles are smaller than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) in diameter. Atypical moles and melanoma, on the other hand, are often larger than 6 millimeters. While size alone isn’t definitive, larger moles warrant closer observation.

E – Evolving: Keep an eye on changes in your moles over time. Any alterations in size, shape, color, or other features could indicate a potentially dangerous transformation. If a mole starts to itch, bleed, or become elevated, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for a thorough evaluation.

Understanding these warning signs of atypical moles and melanoma can be lifesaving. Remember to use the ABCDEs as a guide to monitor your skin at home and get an annual (at least) skin check by a dermatologist. After all, early detection is the key to effective treatment.

Please share this information with your loved ones and let’s work together to raise awareness about the importance of skin cancer prevention!