Yay, it’s summertime! But with all the sun and fun, don’t forget to protect your skin against the sun’s rays. Excessive exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet (UV) light such as tanning beds or sunburns at an early age (under 5 years old) increases the risk for developing melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
This form of skin cancer can sometimes develop in moles. Moles can be assessed according to the ABCD or ABCDE rule. Each letter stands for a characteristic in the mole that could indicate the onset of melanoma. A stands for Asymmetry (the mole is not symmetrical), B stands for Border (the edges are irregular), C stands for Color (the color is not uniform), D stands for Diameter (the mole is larger than the standard), and E stands for Evolution (in the sense of change in the mole) or Elevation (in the sense of the mole forming into a bump).
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is formed by the pigment cells in the skin, which are called melanocytes. Melanocytes are found everywhere in the skin. They create a brown pigment that gives color to the skin and protects it against the harmful effects of the sun. They are evenly distributed throughout the entire skin, but are concentrated as clusters in moles. Although melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, it sometimes forms in an existing mole. Melanoma occurs when a group of pigment cells turns into cancer cells (melanoma literally means: black tumor).