WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - May is skin cancer awareness month.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis. It's also the most preventable by protecting your skin from the sun.
It's estimated about 9,500 people are diagnosed every day with skin cancer. Any abnormal spot or mole on the skin should be looked at by a dermatologist.
Doctors use the alphabet in looking for skin cancers.
"We tend to think of the ABCDEs," says Dr. Lindsey Prochaska, an oncologist at New Hanover Regional Medical Center's Zimmer Cancer Center.
It's called the ABCDE rule.
The American Cancer Society breaks it down this way:
A is for Asymmetry. One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
B is for border irregularity. The edges are irregular and ragged.
C is for color. The color is not uniform
D is for diameter. The spot is larger than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser).
E is for evolving. The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
Prochaska says melanomas, the deadliest type of skin cancer, are darker in color.
Other warning signs include a sore that will not heal, and a spot that is itchy or tender to the touch.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 90,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in the U.S. this year. About 9,000 will die.
As we do the first Monday of every month, we, along with our sponsors at NHRMC, are offering you one of our Plaid Packs. They contain important information about different types of cancer, including skin cancer. Click here to visit the Plaid Pack page for more information.