Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. The risk of melanoma in transplant recipients is ~3-4 times that of the general population.
It usually appears as an irregular brown, black and/or red spot; or changing, unusual freckle or mole. The ABCD guidelines are promoted by the American Academy of Dermatology to assist in the evaluation of moles and the diagnosis of melanoma.
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- A-asymmetry (one half of the mole being different than the other),
- B-border irregularity (the border being ill defined or jagged),
- C-color variation (more than one color in the same mole or freckle),
- D-diameter greater than 6mm (larger than the size of a pencil eraser).
If a mole or new lesion breaks one or more of these guidelines, or is seen to change in its appearance, it should be evaluated by a dermatologist. In 2001 ~51,400 Americans developed melanoma. Each year ~ 7,800 Americans will likely die of melanoma.
If caught in the very early stages it can be treated well with likely cure by surgical excision.
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