Memphis Dermatologist on Skin Cancer Screening for Mole Evaluation
by George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (08/23/2022)
Skin Cancer including Melanoma takes the lives of upwards of 20,000 Americans every year. Dermatologists like myself teach patients to go on mole patrols, a type of Mole Evaluation. Here are some tips on how you can catch suspicious lesions early, when they can be cured by minor out-patient surgery.
First, you’ve got to go on Mole Patrol, to do a Mole Evaluation, to look at your whole body, and that of your family, to catch suspicious lesions, because Melanoma and Skin Cancer can occur even in the scalp, completely covered by hair, or on the back or in the groin. You’ll soon come to know your moles, and your family’s moles. You need to get a comb, and to get in front of a mirror. Remember that really everyone is at risk of Basal Cell Skin Cancer, and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, not just redheads and people who have had sunburns.
So what are we looking for? The A, B, C, D, E warning signs:
A stands for Asymmetry: one half of the lesion does not match the other half.
B stands for Border: a jagged border, perhaps like the coast of Maine, rather than of Florida.
C stands for Color change: different hues of brown or black within the lesion, or one mole that’s a darker color than the person’s other moles.
D stands for an increasing Diameter of the lesion
E stands for Evolving: if the lesion is changing, it’s best to bring it to the attention of a Dermatologist.
The photo below is a Melanoma. Note the irregular Color, and the irregular Border, which are two of the five warning signs above.
The photo below shows a Melanoma on a man's forehead. Note the dark Color.
If you or a family member has a suspicious lesion, get to the attention of a Board-certified Dermatologist. My own Dermatology practice of these last 30 years is with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, Cordova, TN (1-901-753-0168; wwwRheumderm.com). You can also find a Dermatologist close to you by going to the American Academy of Dermatology web site, AAD.org, then simply plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab.
For more helpful tips and photos of melanoma, go to the Skin Cancer Foundation website: skincancer.org.
So see spot. See spot change. See a Dermatologist!
George Woodbury Jr. M.D.
Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates PC
8143 Walnut Grove Road
Cordova TN 38018