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Go Ask Mom

Duke Medicine: Why you should slather on the sunscreen

Posted May 27, 2013


The reason for the sunscreen season is skin cancer prevention. And the most serious skin cancer is melanoma, which will be diagnosed in more than 70,000 people in the next year.

Not every skin cancer is a melanoma, but melanomas are the skin cancers that require the most vigilance. That’s because when they are caught early, they are very treatable — but if they are caught at an advanced stage, the five-year survival rate is as low as 20 percent.

When checking for potential melanomas, the standard reminders of what to look for are the trusty ABCDs:

A: Moles that are asymmetrical

B: Moles with an irregular border

C: Moles with uneven color

D: Moles with a diameter larger than a pencil eraser

But now there’s a new addition to this alphabet: E for evolution.

“That means any mole that is changing in appearance or size,” says Kelly Nelson, MD, a Duke Medicine dermatologist who specializes in melanoma. A mole that is changing could be a key to catching melanoma before it reaches an advanced stage."

For more about moles and skin cancer, read the full post at Duke Medicine, Go Ask Mom's sponsor, offers health information and tips every Tuesday.

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  • Reader X May 28, 2013

    Sometimes I wish I could slather on the sun screen. It burns my skin as soon as I get hot and start to sweat. My only saving grace is I tan slow and it takes several hours before I burn.