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"Early detection is key. When detected early, most skin cancers may be effectively treated and are often curable," said Dr. Jeffrey Farma, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
"Individuals play an important role in early detection," Farma said in a center news release. "By being familiar with your own skin markings, like moles, freckles and blemishes, you're likely to notice any changes."
His recommendation: Have your skin checked yearly by a physician or dermatologist, and check your own skin for signs of skin cancer by using a mirror every month.
C for Color. A mole with more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.
D for Diameter. Melanoma lesions are often more than 6 millimeters in diameter, about the size of a pencil eraser.
E for Evolution. The evolution of your moles is important. Knowing what is normal for you could save your life.
"If a mole or marking has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of your doctor immediately so he or she can determine the cause," Farma said. "Remember that skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, no matter what their complexion."
-- Robert Preidt
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