The ABCDEs of Melanoma

These characteristics are used by dermatologists to classify melanomas. Look for these signs: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, more than one or uneven distribution of Color, or a large (greater than 6mm) Diameter. Finally, pay attention to the Evolution of your moles - know what's normal for your skin and check it regularly for changes.

If you see one or more of these, make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately. Need more information? Be sure also to check out our pictures of melanoma. Please note that not all melanomas fall within the ABCDE parameters so visit your dermatologist regularly to catch any potiential issues early.

A - Asymmetrical Shape

Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

 

B - Border

Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

 

C - Color

The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

 

D - Diameter

Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

 

E - Evolution

The evolution of your mole(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to diagnosing a melanoma. Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

 

Want this information as a handout? View or print our ABCDEs of Melanoma as a PDF!