Worrying unnecessarily about skin lesions? Consult the “ABCDE” check list

Consult the ABCDE checklist to assess your skin for cancerous molesMelanoma skin cancer is a well known condition. It is believed that too much sun exposure causes this type of cancer due to the presence of harmful UV rays. Sometimes this type of skin cancer is linked to your genes – there is evidence that if you have had a member of the family who had suffered from this type of skin cancer then you are at a higher risk of developing it.

However, it’s not all down to genetics. People who have very fair skin, who have lots of moles or freckles or who have light or red hair are more prone to developing this type of skin condition.

Keep an eye on your skin

Due to its coverage in the news and mainstream media, many people know that it is commonly linked with moles on the surface of the skin and this can cause worry and angst if people think they have identified a problem patch of skin. As such, an “ABCDE checklist” has been created by the NHS to help assist people in identifying the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma mole.

The checklist

It is recommended that you familiarise yourself with this easy check list and if you have any concerns about your moles, then run through these stages of assessment before consulting an expert:

Asymmetrical – normal, healthy moles can be perfectly round and symmetrical, whereas melanomas have an irregular shape.
Border – melanomas have an irregular, jagged border whereas normal moles rarely do.
Colours – melanomas have different colour tones and shades.
Diameter – moles come in all shapes and sizes but melanomas are large – often in excess of 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
Enlargement or elevation – healthy moles are static and remain the same size and shape. A mole that changes size over time has a greater chance of being a melanoma.

If you have identified any of the signs in the “ABCDE” checklist then get this checked out quickly, as the sooner you act, the faster you can get a confirmed assessment either way.

Your GP, a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon such as Mr Alan Park will be able to help assess any moles you have concerns with and advise the most appropriate next steps.