Since my diagnosis in 2003, I’ve been meaning to tell my friends and family via my blog about Melanoma. Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer that begins in the melaocytes (cells that make the skin pigment called melanin). While it accounts for only 4% of all skin cancer, it causes the most cancer related deaths! It is the fastest growing form of cancer and can spread rapidly to other parts of the body including the lymph nods, lungs, colon, eyes and brain. If caught in its early stages it is treatable and highly curable. Left undetected it is deadly.
Perhaps the most famous person to succumb to melanoma was Maureen Reagan, President Reagan’s daughter. Ms Reagan fought melanoma taking interferon of a year and five years after her diagnosis died in 2001. There are others famous people who have survived melanoma they include Troy Aikman, Sam Donaldson, and John McCain. Yet with its easy detection and treatment according to The Melanoma Research Foundation every hour of every day of the year one American dies of melanoma. More young women die of melanoma than any other form of cancer, including breast cancer!
So here’s your homework. Learn the ABCD’s of Melanoma and we will add an E:
A: Asymmetry. The mole is not completely even in appearance.
B: Border. The margins should be even and smooth, without jagged projecting edges.
C: Circumference. The mole should be nice and round, without jagged or sharp edges.
D: Diameter. The size of the mole should not be more than 6 mm measured across the mole. The size of a pencil eraser.
E: Evolving (changes). Any changes over time in size, shape, symptoms (itching, tenderness), surface (bleeding, scaling, inflammation) and shades of color.
So now you know what to look for, LOOK! That's right, stand in front of a mirror with a hand held mirror and look. Check everywhere! Yup there too! The scalp, annus, and the bottom of your feet.