Get Answers for a Skin Cancer Diagnosis in Medicine Hat
To diagnose skin cancer, Dr Kriel follows guidelines set out on www.CanadianSkinCancerFoundation.com. The ABCDE rule for skin cancer is a very good guideline start, but there is much more to know, so speak with him to learn more and how he can diagnose you. The process used by Dr Kriel to do diagnosis is called dermoscopy or dermatoscopy. This refers to the examination of the skin using skin surface microscopy, and is also called 'epiluminoscopy' and 'epiluminescent microscopy'. Dermoscopy is primarily used to evaluate pigmented (colored) and changing skin lesions. With experienced doctors, this process makes it easier to diagnose melanoma and then proceed to any appropriate treatment.
The diagnosis guidelines are as follows:
- A – Asymmetry: Normal freckles or moles are precisely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two identical halves. In cases of skin cancer, spots don’t look the same on both sides, so they display asymmetry.
- B – Border: A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges is one likely indicator of skin cancer.
- C – Color: Normal skin spots are usually one color thus a mole that shows more than one hue (or color) is suspicious and should be evaluated by your physician. This can include lightening or darkening of the mole. Melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin, which accounts for the cancers appearing in mixed shades of tan, brown, and black.
- D – Diameter: If your skin spot is larger than the blunt end of a pencil (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), it needs to be examined by your doctor. This is includes areas that do not have any other abnormalities (color, border, asymmetry). But, size is not the only indicator – some cancerous spots can be smaller.
- E – Elevation/Changing: Elevation means the mole is raised above the rest of the skin surface and has an uneven feel to it. It will look different from the other areas of skin and may have changes in size, shape, or color. Any mole or growth that is undergoing change should be checked by a doctor.