ABCD's of Melanoma

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Lisa Wiater knows the importance of sunscreen.

Wiater says, "We have skin cancer in our family, so I wear sunscreen on my face everyday- no matter what."

Her daughter, Madeline, is learning the importance at an early age.

Wiater says, "And I always make sure, wherever she is, that she has sunscreen on as well."

Experts say 80 percent of sun damage is done before age 18.

Elizabeth Westbrook is a cancer control specialist. Westbrook says, "Sunburns you get in childhood and adolescence really determine if you'll get skin cancer."

And if they spot any changes in the skin, or new moles, get them checked out by a doctor.

Westbrook says, "With melanoma, which is a very deadly form of skin cancer, we tend to think of the ABCD rule."

    A: stands for Asymmetry. One side does not match the opposite side.

    B: stands for Border. The edges may be irregular and appear to be spreading.

    C: stands for Color. Melanomas can be blue, black, red, white or blue in color.

    D: stands for Diameter. You're urged to watch out when moles start to grow.

Westbrook says, "Most melanomas, if they're caught early, are very curable, but melanoma has a tendency to spread very quickly so it's important that they be detected."

And if parents take precautions to prevent sun damage at an early age they could also prevent skin cancer later on in the child's life.

Wiater says, "The sun is so strong these days she could burn and that could cause damage for years and years."