For Booster Shot this month’s topic is skin moles.
“We always say, as far as melanoma is concerned, look for the ABCDE’s,” said Sarah Fuller, a nurse at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It can reveal itself by an abnormal mole. These moles are often caused by ultraviolet radiation. With summer approaching and sun exposure increasing, it’s good to keep an eye on your moles and apply the ABCDE’s to see if medical attention is needed.
“So A,” Fuller said, “would be if it was asymmetrical. If one side didn’t match the other when it was cut in half.”
B is border. If the border of the mole isn’t clearly defined, if it starts to blur into the skin, that’s something to have checked.
“C is the color,” Fuler continued, “if one side is a different color than the other, if the color appears to change throughout the mole, that’s something you need to have checked by your doctor.”
D is diameter. If the diameter is greater than six millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, watch out. Those larger moles are much more likely to become cancerous.
“And then E is if it’s evolving,” explained Fuller, “if it starts out as one small, perfectly round mole, and all of a sudden, it’s getting bigger and longer and blurred borders, and all those things, especially if it’s rapidly evolving, we’d want you to seek medical advice over that immediately.”
So in review, seek medical advice if any moles are: asymmetrical, have an undefined border, are multicolored, have a diameter greater than six millimeters, or are evolving. ABCDE.
It’s also good to get a yearly skin check by a dermatologist. In the mean time, you can ask your general practitioner to look at suspicious moles and help you seek further care if needed.
Support for Booster Shot is provided by Medical Center Hospital, the only Level 2 Trauma Center in the Permian Basin. More information at 432-640-6000 or mch odessa (dot) com. Medical Center Health System, “Your One Source for Health.”