NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Melanoma - page 13

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
Melanoma, Version 1.2014
11
1
About melanoma
Melanoma risks and prevention
or raised. They stay the same size, shape, and color
for many years. Later in life, they often fade away.
In contrast, melanoma may cause moles to change
size, shape, or color. Itching, scaling, oozing,
bleeding, redness, swelling, and tenderness are also
possible signs of melanoma.
After learning how to notice abnormal moles, you
should check your skin on a regular basis. Use a
full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror for areas
that are hard to see. A partner may be able to help.
Inspect all areas of your body. Remember, change is
important. Know your skin so you can tell if there are
any changes. Be sure to show your doctor any spots
that have changed or that concern you.
Melanoma risks and prevention
Risk factors
Exactly what causes melanoma is unknown.
However, many risk factors for melanoma are known.
A risk factor is anything that increases the chance of
getting a disease. Some risk factors are passed down
from parents to children through genes. Other risk
factors are activities that people do. Having one or
more risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll get melanoma.
Likewise, melanoma occurs in some people who have
no risk factors. The major risk factors for melanoma
are described next.
Ultraviolet energy
Melanoma often occurs on parts of the body exposed
to UV (
u
ltra
v
iolet) energy. UV energy is invisible
light energy that comes from the sun, sun lamps,
and tanning beds. The main source of UV energy is
ABCDE rule
A
symmetry:
One half or side of the mole does not match the other half or side.
B
order irregularity:
The edges of the mole are ragged or notched.
C
olor:
The color of the mole is not the same throughout. There may be different shades of
tan, brown, or black and sometimes patches of red, blue, or white.
D
iameter:
The mole is wider than a ¼ inch—the size of the top of a pencil eraser.
However, doctors have found melanomas as small as ⅛ inch.
E
volving:
The mole has changed in size, shape, color, or texture over the past few weeks
or months.
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