Finding and treating skin cancer early is the best defense. Visit a dermatology provider once a year and perform a self-exam once a month looking for suspicious or unusual moles or growths.

If caught early, Melanoma is curable so it’s important to do a self-exam from head to toe monthly. Any suspicious or unusual moles that are asymmetrically shaped and have border variations or irregular coloring should be looked at by a dermatology provider. Be most concerned about any that are new or changing in size, shape, or color. If you think you may have skin cancer, screening is your best defense.

The ABCDE’s of early diagnosis are an easy way to become familiar with the early signs of malignant melanoma:

• Asymmetry of lesion: One half of the area does not match the other half.

• Border irregularity: Normal moles are round or oval in shape while melanoma may be uneven or notched.

• Color variegation: Melanomas may have several colors including tan, brown, blue, and black.

• Diameter: greater than 6 millimeters

• Evolving: Is the lesion growing in height?