The ABC’s of Detecting Skin Cancer


Finding skin cancer is as easy as ABC, or rather ABCDE.

Let’s face it; we have all put ourselves at risk of skin cancer. Whether it was tanning booths, frying in the sun for that perfect tan, or forgetting to re-apply sunscreen after too many margaritas, it happens. Now you’re smart. You are covering up more (surely not because of cellulite, it’s all about skin health), you buy foundation with sunscreen, and you gave up on that perfect tan. But has the damage been done?

Have a mole or freckle that looks a little, different? Not sure if it’s ugly or something to be worried about? Here is an easy way let you know if that spot is something you need to get checked out. If it has most, or all of these characteristics, see a doctor. A dermatologist is best, but a primary care doctor should be able to guide you in the right direction.

A – asymmetry. These means it is not perfectly round.
B – border. Is the border of the spot more jagged or raised?
C – color. Look for freckles or moles that are a different color than the rest on your body. It could be darker, more red, pearly etc.
D – diameter. This is referring to the size. If it’s bigger than others on your body, it’s something to watch out for.
E – elevation. Freckles are flushed with the skin. If the spot is raised up, take notice.

Remember, it doesn’t have to have all of these signs to get a professional opinion. If your worried about a spot, get it checked out. There’s no harm, and may ease some nerves. If it turns out to be something serious, the sooner you get it taken care of, the less invasive the procedure to remove it.

A couple facts about skin cancer to note: Those who are fairer skinned with lighter eyes are more at risk, be more cautious. The Most common place to get skin cancer is your face. You don’t have to be bathing in the sun to get exposed to it. Your face is exposed to sunrays as long as you’re outside.

I know you’ve heard it again and again, but I’m going to tell you (again), “WEAR SUNSCREEN!” Make it a part of your daily routine. After brushing your teeth, applying sunscreen should be your next move.

– Paige Medeiros, RN BSN