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Keep an Eye on Your Moles

While Vitamin D (and sunshine) are important for your health, it’s good practice to keep an eye on your skin for any signs of cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Some skin cancers are relatively benign, meaning they are slow growing, easily removed, and do not spread into the body.  Melanomas, however, are potentially more dangerous and can even be life-threatening.  Melanoma is a cancer of the melanocytes, the cells that cause the skin to color. There are four different kinds of melanoma, and you can improve your chance of early detection by performing regular skin checks on yourself and visiting your doctor or dermatologist for exams as well.


It is important to check your skin regularly for new and changing spots. Using the ABCDE guidelines, you should be able to determine whether or not your mole needs a doctor’s eyes.


Your moles should be symmetrical, meaning if you cut them in half they are the same shape on both sides.


The edges of the mole should be distinct, smooth, and even. Edges should not be blurred, notched, or in any way irregular.


You want your mole to be a single color. If you see any gradient in color or multiple colors in a mole, have it checked out.


Small moles are often not concerning. Pay attention if your mole is larger than a pencil eraser (6mm).


Pay attention to changing moles.

It is good to remember these guidelines but also important to note that not all melanomas follow the rules of ABCDE.  If you are ever in question as to whether or not your moles look funny, it is a great idea to have them checked out by your doctor.  As with most cancers, early detection and treatment is always more favorable.