Melanomas on the other hand are often confused with regular moles. Most moles are harmless and natural and may even fade away with age. Melanomas have a basic rule to examination called the ABCDE rule. A stands for Asymmetry, meaning that one half of mole looks different from the other. B is for Border, which means the edges of the mole are irregular or notched. C stands for Color, which means that the mole has differences in color such as brown with pink patches. D is for Diameter, meaning a melanoma is often larger than 6 millimeters (1/4 inch) in diameter. And most importantly, E stands for Evolving, which means you have observed the mole changing in size, shape, or color. Also be on the lookout for sores that do not heal, spread of pigment from the edge of a spot beyond that edge, and changes to the surface of a mole such as additional bumps or scales.
If you happen to spot a change in your skin such as a mole that fulfills the criteria, see a dermatologist, immediately! If your dermatologist considers the mole to be irregular, they will usually take a tissue sample to perform a biopsy. That is the best way to confirm if the growth is cancerous or not. If it is the case, dermatologist will often opt to remove it completely, but additional treatment may be needed afterwards.
Please remember that skin cancer early detection is vital in the fight against skin cancer, prevention and detection are the best methods. Non-melanoma skin cancers are common and almost always cured if found on time and treated properly. Malignant melanoma, however, especially in later stages, is very difficult to treat, but an early diagnosis and proper treatment can increase survival rate. If you have had skin cancer previously, please remember this increases your chances of possibly getting it again, so medical check-ups at least once a year are mandatory.
Utah Valley Dermatology greatly recommends making a habit of both regular self-examination and preventive measures to avoid the risk of skin cancer so that you can continue to enjoy living with healthy skin!