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  • Writer's pictureLeanna Coy, FNP-C

When it comes to skin cancer know your ABCDs


I just returned from a vacation in Hawaii that took me out of the gray, dark Oregon winter. The extra sunshine this time of year is always a much-needed source of vitamin D and a mood booster. With my pale winter skin, sunblock is a necessity to prevent burning and help protect against potential skin cancer. Looking at spots, moles, and growths on the skin can be worrisome or confusing. Knowing what to look for is key and is as easy as knowing your ABCDEs!


A - Asymmetry

When looking at a spot is it round? If you folded it in half would it match up or is it asymmetrical? Asymmetry is when the spot would not match up and is more concerning than a spot with a uniform shape.


B - Border

Ideally, the border should be well-defined with a clear edge. If you cannot tell where the border starts and stops, or if it wanders instead of forming an obvious path then there is a greater concern for cancer.


C - Color

The spot should have even coloring all the way across. Patchy colors need to be checked.


D - Diameter

Size does matter! Anything larger than 6 mm or a spot growing in size is concerning.


E - Evolving or changing

Any spot that appears to be changing with shape, coloring, size, or texture needs assessment from your healthcare provider.


Keep this in mind when you do your skin checks and follow up with your primary care provider if you notice anything concerning.


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