Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and is the most common cancer in 25-29 year olds. Anyone can get melanoma. When found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Exposure to UV radiation is the most important preventable cause of melanoma and all skin cancers. Other risk factors include family history, multiple moles, and a suppressed immune system.
If you notice a mole on your skin, you should follow the simple ABCDE rule. which outlines the warning signs of melanoma.
- Border - irregular
- Color - dark or multicolored
- Diameter - usually > 6mm, but can be smaller
- Evolving - a mole or skin lesion looks different from the rest or is changing in shape, size or color.
You should examine your skin regularly. This means looking over your entire body, including your back, your scalp, the soles of your feet, between your toes, and the palms of your hands. If you notice a mole that is different from others, is new, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, even if it is smaller than 6 mm, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible.