A Modern-day Primer for Skin Cancer Awareness: Do You Know Your ABCDEs?

Does the following ring true about your past habits? Have you ever lathered up with baby oil in preparation for a glorious day spent on Clearwater Beach getting a tan? Or did you buy a five-session package of tanning salon sessions due to your desire to not look pale as a ghost for an upcoming vacation? If these scenarios sound familiar, hopefully by now, you have corrected your habits of old and opted for applying lotion with a high SPF when outdoors, and said no to speedy tanning on ultraviolet (UV) radiation beds. But is that enough to protect you against skin cancer?

Raising Skin Cancer Awareness

According to the American Cancer Society, if you added breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer incidence together, the number would be lower than new cases of skin cancer. Even more troublesome is the fact that current estimates say that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their life.

On average, Floridians can expect 246 sunny days every year, and if you add in partly cloudy days, it’s not a far stretch to understand that our skin can be exposed to harm more than expected. In addition to putting sunscreen on exposed skin when outside and avoiding tanning salons, there are some other things that people can do to protect their skin from skin cancer. If caught early, most skin cancer can be completely cured.

No matter if it is winter, spring, summer or fall, it is important to examine your skin every month in the search for anything on your skin that looks suspicious. But would you know the difference between normal, benign or harmful? By following some simple ABCDEs, you can be on the right side of the bell curve.

At Chapters Health System, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients, young and old alike, and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call our helpful Chapters Health team at 1.866.204.8611 or send an email to info@chaptershealth.org

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Corporate Communications for Chapters Health System, manages all content and communications for the not-for-profit organization.

Knowing Your ABCDs

When it comes to early skin cancer detection, specifically melanoma which can be deadly, knowing your ABCDs can be a lifesaver.

But where does one begin? When checking your skin, a good starting point is to be on the lookout for any new growths or moles. Then from there you can become a skin melanoma detective by observing the following ABCD clues.

Aasymmetrical. If you have a mole already, imagine drawing a line through it to divide in half. A warning sign of melanoma is that the two halves would not be equal.

B-border. If the border or edge of a mole or lesion is uneven, scalloped or there’s a notch, there can be cause for concern.

Ccolor. The majority of benign skin spots are one color and usually that means brown. A red flag is a lesion with a number of different colors or shades, usually a variety of brown shades. And believe it or not, melanoma can even be patriotic in appearance—red, white and blue.

Ddiameter. The diameter of a mole is very telling: The larger the diameter of a mole the more suspicious the lesion. Statistically, melanomas are about the size of a pencil eraser.

Eevolving. A prior growth that’s changed significantly or a spot that itches, bleeds or doesn’t heal could be an alarm.

If you discover one or more ABCDs during your skin check make an appointment with your physician for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. The good news is that when caught early, the cure rate for skin cancer, even melanoma, is high.

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