ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Want a simple way to check for the most common form of cancer in the United States?
Look for "the dark tumor", the very definition of melanoma.
May 1, 2017 is Melanoma Monday, kicking off National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.
Southwest Georgia Dermatology's Stuart Goldsmith, M.D. has been a leading advocate on a new and improved way for people to screen for melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
Dr. Goldsmith said the 32-year-old "ABCDE" criteria, checking moles for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, and Evolving, has simply not worked, as melanoma death rates continue to climb.
He said it's more important to first screen yourself or a loved one for a black spot.
The key markers to look for are dark, different and changing moles.
"Once you have identified a lesion that should be looked at more closely, then the ABCDE features are useful with one important change--the diameter criterion should not be there," said Dr. Goldsmith.
Dr. Goldsmith has even scratched out "diameter" on a ABCDE poster in his office, and changed it to "dark".
That's because a melanoma the size of a pinpoint can be just as deadly as a much larger mole.
Dr. Goldsmith said once a month look for moles that are dark, different and changing.
It's known as the "Georgia Approach", that's because the Georgia Society of Dermatologists was the first state to push for the change in criteria.
For more information, click here.