Sheer summer fashions, short shorts and tank tops may reveal more than just a fit body. If you're smart, you'll make the most of your brief summer wear to take a close look at any changes you may notice in moles and freckles. Take the opportunity to look closely at any changes in freckles and moles. Because despite our fear of melanoma, caught early, it is nearly 100% curable. Dr. Barney Kenet, a dermatologist at Cornell Medical Center talked to us about how to catch the changes in moles.
There are some simple steps we can go through to determine whether moles have changed into something that warrants a doctor's examination. But the best rule of thumb is to make an annual appointment with a dermatologist to give us peace of mind, an examination that could save our lives to prevent skin damage from the sun. There are some simple, inexpensive steps. But not all melanoma is sun related. Moles can be found in parts of the body that is never exposed to the sun.
The message Dr. Barney Kenet has is how to find melanomas when they're curable. People don't talk about melanomas and cures in the same breath, which is too bad, given the possibility of cure. Dr. Kenet reviews the ABC's of moles to determine if they need further examination: what he's really talking about is shape, size and color.
A - Asymmetry
B - Border irregularity
C - Color variations: blue, brown or black, sometimes white or red spots
D - Diameter: greater than six millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser)
E - Elevation: raised above the surface of the skin
But Dr. Kenet prefers to call it evolution since what we're always looking for in moles and freckles is change, change, and change.
Typically, middle aged men find moles on their backs, and women tend to find them on the backs of their legs. But you can also find moles in places where the sun never goes including the bottom of feet, and under the arms.
We know that sun is a big factor in melanomas, but it is not the only factor.
Here's how to prevent sun damage:
- Wear large-brimmed hat
- Sun block, at least 15
- Cover-up clothing
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