At MoleSafe, we are quite used to seeing the super-enlargements and “high def” reality of various lesions, moles, skin blemishes and irregularities. After all, with our advanced detection technology we see details even macro-photography doesn’t reveal. (See an example in my post, Spotting Melanoma.) And, we have frequently promoted the ABCDEs of skin cancer self-exams and shared the rules of thumb about suspicious marks. However, there has rarely been a consumer news piece as clear and as, well, blatant, as CBSNews.com’s feature posted this week, of “38 photos that could save your life.” Certainly, our friends at the Skin Cancer Foundation, credited with these images, share examples on their site, but we felt the CBS spread was important for its ability to reach the general public.
The images are startling, clear, and come with specific explanations of the whys and whats that distinguish the moles and lesions in the photos. They may be difficult for the average person to review, but I feel they are important as a way to increase awareness of what could be ignored or overlooked and with this kind of education what could, just as the title promises, save your life. Just as we felt about Dr. Oz and the “in your face” videos of skin cancers and prevention information that he shared, this photographic guide is worthy of a “Hat’s On” award for straightforward, helpful coverage of exactly what to look for in the variety of skin cancer presentations.
And yet again, here are those rules of thumb again for your skin self-exams and warning signs to heed:
- A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
- A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
- changes color
- increases in size or thickness
- changes in texture
- is irregular in outline
- is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser
- appears after age 21
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
- An open sore that does not heal within three weeks