AMBER ALERT – Share to help find missing 1-year-old
What’s on your Winter #CTBucketList?

Health Watch: The ABCDE’s of detecting melanoma, and a no-scalpel technique

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but five-year survival rates are well over 90 percent if it can be caught early enough. Courtesy of Dr. Hao Feng, a Dermatologist at UConn Health, here is a simple ABCDE guide to help you determine if a mole on your skin needs to be checked for cancer.

A stands for asymmetry.

“You do not want something that looks different on one half and different on the other half,” said Dr. Feng.

B stands for border.

“You want to have a lesion that has a clearly defined sharp border that’s round,” he said, “you don’t want to see jagged borders that seem undefined … and you don’t want things that look like the coast of Maine.”

C stands for color.

“You want a lesion to have one, or at most, two colors, so maybe a light brown or a dark brown but you don’t want to see a variety of color including red, white or blue,” said Dr. Feng.

D stands for diameter.

“We want lesions to be small, ideally less than the size of a pencil eraser, which is 6 millimeters,” he said.

E stands for evolution.

“So if a spot is changing, bleeding on its own, and just looks different like you have one arm growing out one side, those are all concerning features,” said Dr. Feng.

If a mole has some of these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cancerous, but it should be checked out. Normally, that entails having a piece of the mole cut off and biopsied, but UConn Health offers a scalpel-free way of getting your skin checked. It’s called Reflectance Confocal Microscopy.

“Confocal microscopy is a non-invasive imaging technique where we’re able to image the skin on a cellular level, so instead of looking through a microscope you can see it live on a monitor,” said Dr. Feng, “it’s non-invasive, not painful and will save you a biopsy. It works by shining a laser light into the skin and when that light reflects back, we’re able to capture what the cells look like and whether it’s dangerous or not.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.