In the last ten years, every year the number of melanomas have increased by about nine percent in men over 65. It is a serious epidemic.
Dr. Rutledge Forney says older Caucasian men are at a very high risk, but anyone can be affected.
"If we catch a melanoma early, 99 percent of them are curable. If we don’t catch it until it’s advanced, then 85% of people will die from melanoma," said Dr. Forney.
To watch for signs, remember A-B-C-D-E.
The "a" stands for assymetry. If you can take a lesion and cut it in half and the 2 sides don’t match, that’s a warning sign.
The 2nd, the "b", stands for irregular borders. The "c" is for color. Two colors is one of the main things doctors look for;
the 4th, the "d", is for diameter. Doctors know that moles that are bigger than the size of a pencil eraser have a greater risk factor. Finally, the "e" stands for evolving, or changing.
Melanoma commonly appears on the back, ear, left arm, scalp, hands and feet. Dermatologists recommend men over 40 who are Caucasian, have a history of sunburn, or who have fair skin or numerous moles get an annual skin check. Family history also raises the risk for melanoma.