Know Your ABCs of Skin Cancer
Now that the warm days of summer are upon us, it is more important than ever to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Sun damage does more than affect the appearance of your skin; it can also cause skin cancer. While many moles, brown spots, and growths are typically harmless (benign), they do have the potential to be cancerous (malignant). Following the ABC system to evaluate the condition of marks on your skin can help determine whether or not they pose a cancer risk.
The ABCs of Skin Cancer
Benign moles should be symmetrical. If you imagine drawing a line through a mole and the two halves do not match up, then that mole could be malignant.
A benign mole will have a smooth border, while malignant moles typically have uneven or jagged borders.
Moles that are harmless tend to be all one color (brown). Malignant moles may include a variety of colors (jet black, red, white, and even blue) and shades that are often a tell-tale sign of melanoma.
Benign moles are usually smaller in diameter than malignant moles, which tend to be larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.
Benign moles will always look the same as they did when they first appeared. Malignant moles typically change size, shape, and color over time as the melanoma invades the surrounding tissue. Bleeding is often the first sign of malignancy and is rare with benign lesions.
Now that you know the ABCs of skin cancer, you can conduct self-exams on your skin at home. However, we highly recommend seeing a skincare professional to ensure you receive the most accurate evaluation possible.
If you live in the South Bay area, we encourage you to contact our practice by calling (310) 295-2287 or by filling out our online contact form today. With over three decades of experience in cosmetic skin care, Dr. J. Brian Boyd and his friendly staff look forward to seeing you soon!