Get to Know the ABCDEs of Melanoma Prevention


People everywhere are tossing their boots to the back of the closet. They’re pulling the socks off their feet faster than a magnolia tree can push out its beautiful blossoms. They’re going outside in the sunshine, exposing their feet to the UV rays that can cause skin cancer.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Podiatrists Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, and Dr. Joseph Saka want our patients to know that you can get skin cancers of all types on your feet. But melanoma is the worst.  It’s the deadliest type of skin cancer there is. Here’s the good news, though: catching it early means there’s a very good chance of beating it.

The warning signs of melanoma

You may have moles or other skin lesions anywhere on your body. Get to know where they are and what they look like. If a new spot pops up or if present moles show any of the following “alphabetical” warning signs, contact your primary care doctor or dermatologist.

A is for Asymmetry. Asymmetry means that half of the lesion isn’t shaped like the other.

B is for Borders. The edges of the mole aren’t smooth. They appear irregular, scalloped, or not well-defined.

C is for Color. The spot should be one color. Be suspicious if it fades from dark on one side to lighter on the other. Look out for a mixture of colors, including tan, brown, black, red, or white.

D is for Diameter.  Be concerned about a mole that’s larger in diameter than a pencil eraser.

E is for Evolution. Watch for changes in size, shape, and color that may evolve over time.

Not just for the light-skinned

1 in 5 Americans will get some form of skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin color doesn’t matter. If you’re fair, dark brown, café, olive, almond, or espresso, make melanoma awareness a part of your self-care. If you see a worrisome lesion on your feet - including under your toenails - our board-certified podiatrists at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center are happy to evaluate it for you. Monmouth County, New Jersey residents may call us at (732) 905-1110 or make an appointment online. Our staff can schedule you at our Howell or Jackson podiatry offices.