By Gena Hymowech
Andy Cohen, who hosts Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, revealed on Live With Kelly that he is a skin cancer survivor and Ripa and husband Mark Consuelos are the reason why he was able to get it taken care of in time.
Ripa noticed a black dot on Cohen’s lower lip in April. Cohen said Ripa and Consuelos “were dogmatic that I get it checked out, and I didn’t because I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m sure it’s nothing. It’s just a black dot, and she kept on me and kept on me.”
Cohen advised everyone watching to “check yourself.”
Hooman Khorasani, MD, chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System, agrees. “The most important thing is to get it checked. It’s important to see a board-certified dermatologist and have it biopsied, and biopsies are very — nowadays — noninvasive.”
But how do you know whether a spot is suspicious in the first place — on your face or on a friend’s?
Khorasani says you have to think of the first few letters of the alphabet — A, B, C, D, and E — and look out for what each represents.
A, for instance, is for asymmetry.
“If you would draw an imaginary line through one of your moles, and one side matched the other side, [it’s symmetric], and if it doesn’t, it’s considered asymmetric,” he says.
“No. 2 is B. Borders are very important. So if the borders are irregular, then that’s another thing. Instead of having a smooth border, maybe [you have a] jagged border. So that’s not good.”
As for C: “You want to have a uniform color. The entire mole needs to have the same shade of color. So, say, in the center if it suddenly is like super-dark-black and the periphery is more like brown, that’s the color variation that we worry about.”
“D is important but not as important as the other ones we talk about — diameter … Anything over about 6 millimeters is usually the big concern. That’s basically the size of your pinky nail. That’s about 6 to 7 millimeters.”
“And then E stands for — it’s the most important — it’s called evolving. So you had a mole, and suddenly it starts changing. Now it starts to bleed on you. Now you’re suddenly shaving your face, and you shaved over that mole in the past and nothing happened. Now it keeps bleeding on you every time. Or it was flat and now it has some nodularity to it. Or part of it is now darker or bluer or redder. So any change in a preexisting mole is very important.”
Melanoma is “the least common one of all three” cancers, Khorasani says, “but it accounts for the majority of the deaths related to skin cancer, and that’s why it’s so important that we educate the public. One American dies from melanoma every hour, and we have close to about 10,000 deaths a year now from melanoma.”
Ripa says this is the third time she’s found skin cancer on a friend. During the show, she hugged Cohen and joked, “I’m glad to see that all that money I spend visiting dermatologists was good for something.”