When you see a statistic such as this one: one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the course of their lifetime; or perhaps this one: one person dies from melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - every hour, it should certainly serve as a time to pause.
This is why American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has deemed the month of May as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and Monday, May 5, as Melanoma Monday, as a way to encourage the public to learn more about this deadly form of cancer.
The AAD has developed an easy five-step rule dubbed the ABCDE rule, which briefly outlines what to look for on the early warning sign front for skin cancer:
A - is for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
B - is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
C - is for Color that varies from one area to another.
D - is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
E - is for Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
Dermatologist Dr. Patrick Ormonde says it can take between 15 and 30 years for melanoma to manifest itself and diagnoses are increasing every year.
"Children's skin is different to adults, as it is thinner and the burning signs do not show as quickly. The damage your five or ten-year-old will have done by sunburn or being exposed to high levels of sun will affect them in their 20s or 30s. We're beginning to see that already," Ormonde explained.