People at high risk of developing melanoma are those who have:
- A family history of melanoma, or who have had a melanoma in the past
- Unusual moles on the skin, or changing moles
- Fair skin, light hair and eye color, and who sunburn easily or tan with difficulty
- A record of painful or blistering sunburns as children or in their teenage years
- Indoor occupations and outdoor recreational habits
When you inspect moles, pay special attention to their sizes, shapes, edges, and color. A handy way to remember these features is to think of the A, B, C, and D of skin cancer-asymmetry, border, color, and diameter.
Some forms of early malignant melanoma
are asymmetrical, meaning that a line drawn
through the middle will not create matching
halves. Moles are round and symmetrical.
The borders of early melanomas are frequentlyuneven, often containing scalloped
or notched edges. Common moles have
smooth, even borders.
Different shades of brown or black are often
the first sign of a malignant melanoma. Common moles usually have a single shade of
Common moles are usualy less than 6 mm
in diameter (1/4 in.), the size of a pencil
eraser. Early melanomas tend to be larger
than 6 mm.