Kaiser Permanente Dermatologist Amy Reisenauer MD Explains the Risk of Melanoma
Skin cancer right nowin the United States is actuallyan epidemic. The incidents of melanomahas been increasing for the past decade to the pointnow where there's more than 9000 deaths from melanomatheUnited States alone every year. About oneevery 60 adultAmericans will develop melanoma within their lifetime. People who expose themselves tothe sun on an intermittent basis
to the point where they getsunburned a lot are the ones who are the most riskfor skin cancer. But then there's some geneticthings too that play a role. So people who are fairskinnedwith a lot of freckling. Blue eyes or green eyes. Blond hair, red hair. These people are at higher riskthan darkerskinned individuals. If you detect them early,they are completely curable.
But if you don'tdetect them early, they can spread to otherparts of the body and cause serious problems. And we don't have greattreatments for them once they do that. So it's all aboutearly detection and secondary prevention. And people talk about theABCDs of melanoma.
A is for asymmetry, where onehalf of the mole looks different from the other half. B is for border irregularity,where the borders are kind of notched or scallopedand not smooth. C is for color, so ifthere's more than one color mixedthe mole,that's worrisome. And D is for diameter. Anything bigger thansix millimeters,
which is the size ofa pencil eraser, should be looked at. So by just examining theskin once a month, looking for those ABCDson your moles, I think those are the mainthings that people need to know.