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Spot check: Learn the ABCDs of melanoma detection

Practice a little self-detection ritual for melanoma using this ABCD cheat sheet.

melanoma ABCDsDo you have a constellation of concerning freckles or a mole that didn’t used to be there? Don’t freak out. But you might want to practice a little self-detection ritual for melanoma using this ABCD cheat sheet. (Schedule it in there with the breast check you do in the shower.)

Why are we bringing this to your attention right now? May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and melanoma is by far the deadliest form of skin cancer, causing more than 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The ABCD warning signs of melanoma include:

Asymmetry: Melanomas often have an irregular, asymmetrical shape. This means that one half of the spot doesn’t match the other half.

Border: The edges of an existing mole become scalloped or rough. Or new spots appear that have uneven, wavy borders.

Color: Existing or new fast growing moles with uneven coloring (various shades of brown or black, colorless areas) are often the first signs of skin cancer. These spots may later become red, blue, or white.

Diameter: Early melanoma spots usually are greater than 6mm in diameter.

Not sure what you’re seeing? Now would be a great time to get into your dermatologist for a mole check—and to buy some new natural sunscreen. —Melisse Gelula