Healthsource 10: Identifying signs of skin cancer

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While melanoma is a less common form of skin cancer, It's more likely to grow and spreads quickly to other parts of the body, which is why early detection is critical.

Central Ohio mom Linda Oney knows all of this firsthand.

“I don't care if it's something small. If it doesn't look like anything, don't make that determination yourself," she said.

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Oney was diagnosed two years ago. Her melanoma was discovered at a doctor's visit for something else.

After a referral to a specialist, Oney learned the melanoma was malignant and required surgery.

Adena Health System dermatologist Kelly Gallina — who is not Melinda's doctor — said the surgery she had is the standard.

A fact she shares with her own patients: “My patients will say, 'I wish I would've known. I wish I would've done this differently.' It just takes a little prevention. It's not hard to do these simple steps every day,” she said.

Dr. Gallina urges everyone to the “ABCDE Rule” to check for skin cancer:

  • A is for asymmetry: Does one half of the mole not match the other?
  • B is the border: Are the edges ragged, notched or blurred?
  • C is color: Does it vary from one area to another?
  • D is diameter: Melanomas are usually more than six millimeters — the size of a pencil eraser — but can be smaller.
  • E is evolution: Is it changing in size, shape or color?

Experts also recommend using sunscreen every day in much the same way you brush your teeth every day.

Sunscreen should offer broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Experts say it is critical to remember to reapply every 90 minutes to two hours.