Magazine article USA TODAY

Learn Warning Signs of Deadly Moles

Magazine article USA TODAY

Learn Warning Signs of Deadly Moles

Article excerpt

Now that summer is over, it's time to take a look at your skin. Knowing a few simple rules for spotting and preventing melanoma--cancerous skin moles--can save your life. David Harris, clinical professor of dermatology, Stanford University, indicates that preventing sunburn by covering skin with clothes or sunscreen and staying in the shade is a good first defense against melanoma skin cancer, which the American Cancer Society says is responsible for 6,800 deaths annually in the U.S.

"Beyond protection from the sun, it's absolutely crucial to check your skin for the warning signs of melanoma. But to do that, you need to know what a normal mole looks like. Healthy moles are round or oval, generally less than the diameter of a pencil eraser. They may be dark or they may be light, but they are almost always a uniform color throughout. And they don't normally itch or hurt.

"On the other hand, the moles that might be melanoma are irregularly shaped (notched or oval) and varied in color. …

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