Learning the warning signs of melanoma could save your life! If you have a mole or pigmented area of the skin that shows any of the four melanoma warning signs below you need to be checked by a doctor immediately. Always have any suspicious growth, mole, sore or skin discoloration checked by your doctor.
A for asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.
B for border irregularity: An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
C for color: Varied from one area to another. Often shades of tan and brown, or black; sometimes white, red or blue.
D for diameter: If the mole is greater than 6mm (about the size of a pea) then there is a greater chance it is melanoma.
Images courtesy of www.cdc.gov
5 Ways to Avoid Skin Cancer
You can greatly reduce your chances of getting skin cancer by following these 5 simple guidelines:
- Try to avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm when the rays are strongest.
- Apply sunscreen that is SPF-30 or higher approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure. Make sure your sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours – even on cloudy days. Always reapply after swimming or perspiring.
- Make sure to wear a hat that shades your face and clothing that protects against the sun when outside. Wearing sunglasses will help protect your eyes
- Avoid tanning salons. “Sunless” tanning lotions are the only safe way to receive a tan.