Melanoma Monday - The First Monday in May

Melanoma Monday stresses melanoma prevention and early detection. It was established by the American Academy of Dermatology and is supported by cancer fighting organizations including The Skin Cancer Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Melanoma International Foundation, and the Billy Foundation. Thousands of free skin cancer screenings are given around the country during the month of May, many on Melanoma Monday. For a listing of screenings in your area, check your local newspaper or call your dermatologist.

Melanoma is easily detectable and curable in its early stages. We urge you to make a habit of periodically checking your whole body for any signs of melanoma. This mnemonic, the ABCD's of melanoma was developed to help you evaluate changes in your moles in order to recognise melanoma in its earlier stages. The letter E for "evolving" has also become part of most literature about melanoma.

A = Asymmetry. Draw an imaginary line down the middle of any mole and ask yourself if the two halves match. Ordinary moles are usually round and symmetrical, while melanomas are often asymmetrical.

B = Border. Ordinary moles are round or oval and have well-defined, smooth, even borders. Melanomas often have irregular, uneven, or notched borders.

C = Color. If your mole has several colors: including black, brown, red, white and blue or an irregular patten of colors, it may be melanoma.

D = Diameter. Watch for change in the size of your moles.

E = Evolving. A mole that changes in size, shape, shades of color, surface or symptoms may be suspicious of melanoma. Further, if it tingles, itches, burns or feels strange, it may be evolving and should be checked.

Take advantage of Melanoma Monday and have your skin checked. And wear sun protective clothing to help melanoma prevention. It may save your life!