By Dr. Brian McDonough
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The fact that Mike Schmidt has malignant melanoma has raised a lot of questions and concerns about the disease (read related story).
Although malignant melanoma is not the most common form of skin cancer, it is the most deadly.
Tumors usually originate in pigment producing melanocytes. That is in the basal layer of our skin. They also resemble moles and some actually develop from moles. The majority are black or brown, but they can also be skin colored, pink, red, purple, blue, even white.
Schmidt certainly reacted to the fact he had malignant melanoma and got treatment as soon as he possibly could. But what about the average person out there?
What doctors like to do is look for certain things. A, B, C, D is what I say. Is a mole asymmetrical? Does it have an irregular border? Does it have an odd color? And the diameter. Is it larger than an eraser head on a pencil? All of those things are things we look at that put people at high risk.
If you have any questions, see your family doctor or dermatologist to have a skin check.