Detecting Early: The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer Detection

People of a certain age might remember when sunbathers, including them, sat at the beach without sunscreen. Instead they might have used baby oil on their skin to increase their gorgeous tan. Little did they know that using baby oil increased their risk of skin cancer since it attracts ultraviolet UV rays and allows it to penetrate more deeply. In addition, it causes a quicker burn. Unfortunately, although we now know how dangerous it is to be out in the sun, people still do it. No matter whether you use sunscreen at the beach, use it everyday, or not at all, we need information about detecting skin cancer early, including the ABCDEs of skin cancer detection.

Why Is Early Detection Important?

If you haven’t been completely faithful to wearing sunscreen over the years, now is the time to see a board certified professional like our board certified dermatologist Dr. Dean Goodless. You should be checking your body on a regular basis, but seeing a dermatologist is essential. To schedule a skin cancer consultation call our dermatology clinic in Orlando, FL at (407) 566-1616.

doctor checking skin cancer.

Finding skin cancer early is the best way to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body. Your dermatologist can spot skin cancer and treat it with little or no scarring and with high odds of eliminating it.

Some facts to know about melanoma:

  • It is the most dangerous of the three most common forms of skin cancer.
  • It is curable when caught early and treated.
  • Melanoma can appear on any area of the body—even in areas not typically exposed to sunlight.
  • Tanning beds increase the risk for melanoma.
  • One out of five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70.

The ABCDEs of Detecting Skin Cancer

In order to detect skin cancer early, the first thing you should do is look for any new spots on your skin or those that look different from others. Watch out for spots that are changing, itching, bleeding, or changing color.

These tips will help you recognize problem spots or lesions.

A Stands for Asymmetry

When looking at a spot, note any that are not equal or the same on both sides. Benign, or non-cancerous, moles are usually symmetrical.

B Stands for Border

Does the spot have unequal borders or is hard to define? Does it have scalloped edges?

C Stands for Color

Does the spot have mixed colors? Look for shades of tan, brown, or black. Even note areas of red, white, or blue.

D Stands for Diameter

Note a spot that is larger than a pencil eraser or greater than 6 millimeters.

E Stands for Evolving

Has the spot changed? Gotten bigger, changed color, or the shape is different?

Keep You and Your Family Safe

Covering up is still the best way to prevent skin cancer when out in the sun. Wear a hat and protective clothing. Keep your children safe by using sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, hats, sunglasses etc. Begin when they are young, so they will understand its importance.

There are many natural looking self-tanners on the market now if you want to have tan looking skin. Understand this will not protect you from the damaging rays of the sun. You must still use sunscreen with 30 SPF at least.

Skin cancer can happen to anyone at any age. Check your skin (and your children’s skin) for unusual spots, and make it a priority to see our board certified Dr. Dean Goodless at least once a year to detect skin cancer early. Call (407) 566-1616 to schedule an appointment at our dermatology clinic in Orlando, FL.