Memorial Day. Remembering (and thanking) men and women who have passed before us while serving our country. Parades, burgers on the grill, family and friends.
Another thing to remember during the picnic and party fun in the sun? Sunscreen. If you forget, once fall hits and your tans slowly fade, you’ll notice newborn moles that never existed before.
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., accounting for more than 1 million cases each year. Many forms of skin cancer are easy to identify, and if caught early enough, can be treated. Check your body (and your kids) on a monthly basis to monitor changes. But get your skin checked by a derm every year (if you’ve had no problems with skin cancer or any irregular moles) or every six months if you’ve had abnormal moles.
If you’re curious as to how to monitor changes to your existing moles, think ABCD–a super quick rule for determining whether you should see an expert.
Asymmetry: Melanoma lesions are typically irregular in shape (asymmetrical); benign (noncancerous) moles are typically round (symmetrical).
Border: Melanoma lesions often have irregular borders (i.e., ragged or notched edges); benign moles have smooth, even borders.
Color Changes: Melanoma lesions often contain many shades of brown or black; benign moles are usually a single shade of brown.
Diameters: Melanoma lesions are often more than 1/4 inch or six millimeters in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser); benign moles are usually less than that.
If you notice changes or are skeptical about an irregular mole, seek a dermatologist’s opinion. If a harmful mole is discovered, it can be removed on the spot.