GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Summer is here and we’re all going to be spending more time outside. It’s a good reminder to keep an eye on our skin and take precautions to prevent skin cancer. Today we’re learning from from Dr. Paul Wright of Spectrum Health.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While melanoma is less common than basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, it can be more dangerous because of its ability to spread to other organs more rapidly if not treated at an early stage.

How dangerous is melanoma?
• An estimated 197,700 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.
• An estimated 7,650 people will die of melanoma in the U.S. this year.
• If detected early, the estimated five-year survival rate for U.S. patients whose melanoma is about 99 percent. (Source: Skin Cancer Foundation)

It’s also important to know your A,B,C,D,and Es:
• A is for asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.
• B is for irregular border. Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders — characteristics of melanomas.
• C is for changes in color. Look for growths that have many colors or an uneven distribution of color.
• D is for diameter. Look for new growth in a mole larger than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters).
• E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows or that changes color or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding. (Source: The Mayo Clinic)

Sponsor: Spectrum Health