Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!
Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!

Melanoma Awareness Month: Get smart

May is melanoma awareness month.  Do you do your yearly skin checks?  If not, we’re here to give you some stats and facts about why coming in for skin checks and being familiar with what to look for in your moles is so important.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.  If that doesn’t get your attention, how about this? Every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma – that’s approximately 10,000 per year. If you’re unfamiliar with the term melanoma, it occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. There are a number of things we can be doing to help prevent melanoma from developing in the skin.

The number one thing is PROTECT yourself! Wear and reapply that sunscreen when out at the beach, grab that umbrella, throw on a hat, sunglasses, and cover-up.  While some people are more at-risk than others (like fair skin or medical history of melanoma in the family) there are tons of benefits from protecting yourself from the sun, even if you don’t burn.

What should you be looking for when doing at-home skin exams? Symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole. That’s where the ABCDE’s come in.  Since melanomas can occur anywhere on the body, this is best way to determine if a lesion needs to be seen by a professional healthcare provider.  The lesion can be tested and then diagnosis determined.  Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, medications, or in some cases chemotherapy.

A – Asymmetrical Shape

Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B – Border

Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C – Color

The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D – Diameter

Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).


Moral of the story is to be smart, be safe with the sun, and when in doubt get a professional to take a look at you.  Call our office to schedule your skin check today! 910-256-4350