Dr. Jan Peter Dank, MD, Dermatologist, discusses the ABCDE's of melanoma.
Loading the player...The ABCDE's of Melanoma Skin Cancer Dr. Jan Peter Dank, MD, Dermatologist, discusses the ABCDE's of melanoma.
Featuring Dr. Jan Peter Dank, MD, Dermatologist
Duration: 1 minute, 52 seconds
Melanoma skin cancers tend to be pigmented, so they’re black or brown.
And oftentimes, people think they look like a mole. And sometimes they do actually arise from a preexisting mole. So to recognize a melanoma, you’ll often think it’s a mole that’s changing.
We have some principles that allow people to look at a skin lesion and, if it’s pigmented, recognize whether it might be showing signs of melanoma.
To make them easy to remember, we call them the ABCDE's. "A" stands for asymmetry. So an asymmetric brown mole – and I’m putting mole in quotations – is the first thing that you might think might be a melanoma.
"B" stands for border. So if it has an irregular or notched border, that’s a warning sign. "C" stands for colors. Most melanomas are going to have multiple colors. So they’ll be brown, black, and blue and red and white all in different shades.
"D" stands for diameter. So melanomas are gonna be growing, and while they might start out small, they’ll generally grow bigger than six millimeters, which is about the size of the head of a pencil eraser.
"E" stands for evolution. And this is to remind you that this is a cancer, meaning it’s growing and changing. So a mole that is evolving and changing rapidly over the course of a few months should be brought to attention.
If you think you have a skin cancer, you should see your physician. Certainly if you have access to a dermatologist, see one. That can sometimes be a longer wait than people want.
So see your primary care physician, and if they think you have a problem, they’re either going to start taking care of it in their clinic or get you a prompter referral to a specialist for further diagnosis.
types of skin cancer
skin cancer causes
Local Practitioners: Dermatologist
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