The ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer

Published on November 6, 2017
Woman looking over her shoulder

Skin cancer can take the form of a malignant lesion on or around the eyelid. There is a lengthy list of different types of skin lesions that can form in this area, and listing and reading about each type would be a time-consuming endeavor.

Instead, it is best to focus on the types of malignant legions that are extremely common. These include the three major forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.

There are a number of signs that can indicate if a lesion is developing into a more dangerous issue. That is why it is extremely important that you routinely perform self-examinations of your lesion so that you can recognize if a problem is developing while it is still in its early stages.

When examining your eyelid lesion, remember the ABCDE’s of skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry – If you were to divide the lesion in half, would each half be about the same size and shape? An asymmetrical lesion is a sign of melanoma.
  • Border – Benign lesions have even, well-defined, and smooth borders. Malignant lesions tend to have borders that are scalloped (semicircle-like) or jagged.
  • Color – Is the lesion a single color or multiple colors? Benign lesions tend to be a solid dark brown color. If the lesion is several different shades of tan, black, red, brown, or even white and blue, it is a warning sign.
  • Diameter – Benign moles will typically have a smaller diameter when compared to malignant lesions. If the lesion is larger than a pencil eraser (about 6mm), it is a sign that it may be malignant. However, some malignant lesions are smaller when they first form. Make sure to monitor any changes in size.
  • Evolving – For the most part, benign lesions will have a consistent appearance that persists over time. If you notice the lesion evolving in any sort of way, such as changes in size, color, elevation, and shape, or if the lesion begins to itch, bleed, or form a crust, you should have it examined as soon as possible.

If you have a skin lesion that is causing you concern and are in need of professional medical help, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with fellowship-trained oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Laquis. Dr. Laquis specializes in skin cancer removal of the eyelids and face and can provide you with the professional medical care you need.

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