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On The Card Face:
Skin Cancer: If You Can Spot It, You Can Stop It
Skin cancer can lead to disfigurement and even death. But if treated early, it is almost always curable. Coupled with a yearly skin exam by a doctor, self-examination of your skin once a month is the best way to detect the early warning signs of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the main types of skin cancer. Loo for a new growth or any skin changes.
What You'll Need: a bright light; a full-length mirror; a hand mirror; two chairs or stools; a blow-dryer.
- Examine head and face, using one or both mirrors. Use blow-dryer to inspect scalp.
- Check hands, including nails. In a full-length mirror, examine elbows, arms, underarms.
- Focus on neck, chest, torso. Women: check under breasts.
- With back to mirror, use hand mirror to inspect back of neck, shoulders, under arms, back buttocks, legs.
- Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, and nails. Use hand mirror to examine genitals.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is especially hard to stop once it has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. But it can be readily treated in its earliest stages. See the other side to learn its warning signs.
On The Card Reverse:
The ABCDEs Of Melanoma
Most people have a number of brownish spots on their skin - freckles, birthmarks, moles. Almost all such spots are normal, but some may be skin cancers. Key warning signs of melanoma are shown below. Be alert to irregularities in shape, edge, color, and size, the ABCDEs of melanoma: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variability, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolving or change.
- A - ASYMMETRY Most early melanomas are asymmetrical; a line through the middle would not create matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical.
- B - BORDER The borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges. Common moles have smoother, more even borders.
- C - COLOR Common moles usually are a single shade of brown. Varied shades of brown, tan, or black are often the first sign of melanoma. As melanomas progress, the colors red, white, and blue may appear.
- D - DIAMETER Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles - generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm, or 1/4", in diameter).
- E - EVOLVING When a mole starts to evolve or change, see a doctor. Any change - in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching, or crusting - is a sign of danger.