How to tell if a mole could be skin cancer

June 8, 2010 at 1:35 AM
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DALLAS, June 8 (UPI) -- The ABCDE's of skin cancer is an alphabetical reminder of what to look for to lower concern for moles, a U.S. dermapathologist says.

Dr. Clay Cockerell, a dermapathologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, whose lab evaluates suspicious skin biopsies, says there are ways to help evaluate if a mole deserves special attention.

"If you have concerns, it's worth having your physician take a look, but there are certain indicators, dubbed the ABCDE's of skin cancer, that signal the need for closer scrutiny from an expert," Cockerell says in a statement.

Stand in front of a full-length mirror and note exiting moles and blemishes and check for:

-- Asymmetry, moles that don't look the same on each side.

-- Borders on moles that are irregular, jagged or blurry.

-- Colors that are inconsistent, areas that are darker and lighter and multiple colors such as blue, purple, red or gray.

-- Diameter of moles larger than one-quarter inch or the head of an eraser.

-- Evolving lesions, or lesions that change even if they are small.

"Any of those indicators individually and certainly together warrant a trip to the doctor," Cockerell advises.

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