Statistics tell us that melanoma caught early is highly curable. When it has progressed and spread to other organs, however, survival rates decrease dramatically. You yourself are your best early detector.
Get to know your skin Check your own skin once a month. Get to know the pattern of moles, freckles, and other marks on your skin.
Learn your ABCDE's Most people have moles and most moles are harmless. Learn the difference between a normal mole and one that may signal melanoma. Normal moles are usually evenly colored. They can be brown, tan or black; flat or raised; round or oval. They are usually less than 1/4 inch across (about the width of a pencil eraser). Use the ABCDE Guidelines to help you identify potentially harmful moles:
Be especially aware of any changes Moles can be present from birth or appear later in life, but after they appear they usually stay the same for many years. It is important to notice any changes in a mole's size, shape, or color.
Check out anything suspicious See a reputable dermatologist right away if you notice any suspicious change on your skin. Find one who includes skin cancer and melanoma as a focus of his or her practice.
Beauty professionals: get trained to help detect skin cancer
The Melanoma Foundation of New England offers a free online training and certification program for beauty industry professionals: The Skinny On Skin
Track your moles and help research Have any worrisome moles? Keep tabs on them with Mole Mapper. Download the free Mole Mapper app to your iPhone or iPad. Mole Mapper allows you to photograph, measure, and track your moles over time so that you can easily become aware of any changes. Keep your data private or share it with researchers and help create a database that could make Mole Mapper a screening and diagnostic tool.