By Dr. Dave Hnida

(CBS4) – Do you know the ABC’s when it comes to your skin?

There is no better day than today to get to know your skin on an intimate basis — what’s normal and what is not. We will take a look at that alphabet skin checker in a second.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and even though you should regularly be checking your body … and having your doctor take a looksee, many people simply don’t bother to see what is new, what is growing, and what is changing.

Rates of melanoma are on the rise, and the typical age group is getting lower. We are seeing more and more younger people — in their teens and 20s who have cancerous lesions growing on their bodies.

So today, or for that matter every month, you or a loved one should do a checkover on the moles and growths subtly springing up in all of the wrong places. You see, unlike other skin cancers, melanoma can spread internally and kill you.

No partner, grab a mirror. And look everywhere.

Now here is where the alphabet comes in. As you or you partner check your entire body, look for lumps, bumps, and growths that have:

A: Asymmetry – one half does not look like the other half. In other words, one half cannot fold neatly onto the other half.

B: Border – it’s irregular, raised or scalloped — not smooth.

C: Color – not one dark color, but different shades from one area to another. It’s not uniform. tan, brown, black, red, white, or blue.

D: Diameter – most melanomas are bigger than the diameter of a pencil eraser, if you placed one on top of the growth.

E; Evolving – simple — the growth is changing.

Anything unusual … get it checked out.

Here’s more information

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida

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