ABCDs of Melanoma Detection
One of the more common requests patients come to our clinic
for is treatment of brown spots. As the world of aesthetic laser practices
grow, and more people are aware of laser treatments for skin rejuvenation, the
demand for brown spot removal increases.
Unfortunately, in some aesthetic practices, consultants
without dermatological training are the ones who are recommending various
treatment modalities to patients presenting with brown spots.
Anyone involved in a skin examination should be familiar
with the ABCDs of melanoma detection and know when to refer to a dermatologist.
- Does one half of a mole look different from
Border Irregularity - Is the edge (border) of the mole
ragged, notched or blurred?
Color - Does the mole have a variety of hues and colors
within the same lesion?
Diameter - What is the size of the mole? While melanomas are usually
greater than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) in diameter when
diagnosed, they can be smaller.
increased risk of melanoma include:
- Family history of
- Atypical moles
greater than 6mm
- Fair skin types that
- Have more than 50
- Diagnosed with
- Long history of sun
- Weakened immune
systems caused by disease or immunosuppressive medications
Although I have had
some experience with medical dermatology and performed skin biopsies, if a
patient presents with a brown spot that appears suspicious and different than
other surrounding spots or if he/she reports changes, pruritis or bleeding,
even if it is less than 6mm in diameter, I prefer to refer any suspicious
lesion to a dermatologist.
Know your ABCDs of
melanoma detection and educate patients on sun protection for prevention of
premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.