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Skin Cancer Detection

Skin Cancer Detection​

UPMC Content 3

Skin cancers that are found and removed in the early stages are almost always curable.

It is important to perform routine self-examinations of the skin, from head to toe, so that you can detect any new or changing lesions.

For a self-screening, follow the ABCDE method:

  • Asymmetry — If you were to draw a line down the center of a mole, it should be even on each side.
  • Border — All borders should be clear. The outside of any mole should not be irregular or jagged.
  • Color — Moles should be a single color. If a mole is several shades, or even if the color changes or darkens, please make an appointment for a skin exam.
  • Diameter — If a suspected area is larger than 6 millimeters, or it continues to grow over time, visit a dermatologist.
  • Evolution — One of the most important methods to evaluate your moles or lesions is observing how they evolve. If the size, shape, or color changes over a period of time, you should make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Though self-screens are an effective way to detect any suspicious lesions on the skin, routine screenings with a dermatologist are recommended. This quick and painless process allows the dermatologist to magnify the lesion and to inspect the actual pigmentation of your mole.

When you schedule an appointment, your dermatologist can either perform a full body screening or look at specific lesions that are of concern. If a suspicious mole is identified, a skin biopsy will then be performed.​