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Only on SkinInc.com: 5 Facts About Melanoma Prevention

Posted: April 11, 2012

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5. Many people have moles or nevi. They often increase in number after puberty. Normal moles are usually even in color with distinct borders. They may be round or oval and smaller than a pencil eraser head (6 mm). Sun exposure as a child is a factor that increases the number of nevi, and multiple sunburns are a risk factor for melanoma. Recommend that your clients get to know their bodies and the type of moles they have since the change of a mole in size, shape or color requires professional evaluation by a dermatologist. The ABCDEs of melanoma, developed by the American Academy of Dermatology, is a guide to look for irregular moles. Provide these guidelines to all clients after a treatment, as well as on your website.

  • A is for asymmetrical shape. If you were to cut the mole in half, are the two sides different-looking?
  • B is for irregular border. Notched or scalloped borders can be signs of melanoma.
  • C is for changes in color. Does the mole have many colors in an uneven distribution?
  • D is for diameter. Look for new growth in a mole larger than 6 mm.
  • E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as moles that change in color or shape.

Other suspicious changes in a mole include scaliness, itching, bleeding or the spread of pigment from the mole into the surrounding skin. Usually seen in natural redheaded individuals but not limited to them alone is amelanotic melanoma. This is melanoma without pigment. Often appearing as cotton candy pink or looking like the appearance of apple jelly, these can be as life-threatening as there pigmented cousins. It is recommended that clients examine their own skin on a monthly basis and have professional examinations. Monthly self-exams make it easier to recognize change. The early detection of melanoma can be lifesaving for your clients.