The ABCDEs of Melanoma

These characteristics are used by dermatologists to classify melanomas. Look for these signs: Assymetry, 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.

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.