Skin self-exam is a
good way to detect early skin changes that may mean melanoma. Look for any
abnormal skin growth or any change in the color, shape, size, or appearance of
a skin growth. Check for any area of injured skin (lesion) that does not heal.
Have your spouse or someone such as a close friend help you monitor your skin,
especially places that are hard to see such as your scalp and back.
Skin cancers involve abnormal cell changes in the outer layer of skin.
It is by far the most common cancer in the world, accounting for 75% of all cancer diagnoses. Most cases are cured, but the disease is a major health concern because it affects so many people. The incidence of skin cancer is rising, even though most cases could be prevented by limiting the skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Skin cancer is about three times more common in men than in women, and the risk...
Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Shades of tan,
brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to the mottled
appearance. Color may spread from the edge of a mole into the surrounding
Diameter: The size of the mole is greater than 6 mm
(0.25 in.), or about the size of a pencil eraser.
is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness),
surface (especially bleeding), or color.
For more information, see the topic Skin Cancer,
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening
for skin cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 150(3):
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
December 17, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 17, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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