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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is a perfect time to know what to look for to save the lives of you and your loved ones.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and nearly five million people receive treatment for skin cancer each year.

The American Academy of Dermatology's “Check Your Partner. Check Yourself.” campaign encourages people to do just that. Research shows that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – on others. Because men over 50 have a greater risk of developing melanoma than the general population, the campaign encourages women to look for warning signs on their partner.  Check out their guide here.

Types of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • The most common type of skin cancer, often found on head, neck and arms
  • Appear as flesh-colored bump or pink patch of skin
  • Without treatment, can invade nearby tissue, growing into nerves and bones

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • May appear as a red bump, scaly patch or a sore that will heal and re-open
  • Often found in areas frequently exposed to sun, such as ears, face, neck, arms and back
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can stop it from spreading to other parts of body


Know the ABCDEs of melanoma to help determine if a mole or new dark spot is worrisome:

  • A: Asymmetry: One half looks different than the other
  • B: Border: Spot has an irregular, poorly defined border
  • C: Color: Color is not uniform throughout; may have tan, brown and black tones
  • D: Diameter: Usually greater than 6 mm (pencil eraser) when diagnosed
  • E: Evolving: Looks different than other moles; changes in color, size or shape

Actinic Keratosis

  • Precancerous growths often found in people with fair skin
  • Usually develops in those over 40 years of age due to repeated sun exposure
  • Can progress to squamous cell carcinoma

For more information on skin cancer or a physician referral, call Bonnie Burns, Southeastern Med Cancer Program’s cancer registrar at 740.435.2980.