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That involves protecting your skin and being on the lookout for skin changes.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says self-exams are a key to early detection. What you’re looking for are changes on your skin.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. So, doctors suggest two special strategies so that you are on the lookout for it: the ABCDEs and the Ugly Duckling sign.
Possible signs that a mole could be melanoma include:
The Ugly Duckling sign means looking for something that is different. It might be one mole that is different than those around it. It might be larger or darker. It’s a sign to bring that to your doctor’s attention.
Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (often leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. It’s important to protect your skin when you’re in the sun and skip tanning beds.
Just one blistering sunburn as a child or teen more than doubles your risk for melanoma. Everyone over 6 months old should follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology:
Originally published 7/8/2015; Revised 2019, 2022
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