The ABCDE method
One handy way to remember what skin cancer can look like is the ABCDE method. This tool describes some of the most common symptoms of melanoma skin cancer that appear on the skin.
Typically, melanoma will show up as a new spot or growth or a change in an already existing mole.
A normal mole will be smooth, even in color, quite small and have distinct edges. Most importantly, a normal mole will usually arrive and stay the same. It won’t change or evolve much over time.
Know your ABCDEs:
|· A – Asymmetrical Shape |
Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or asymmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.
|· B – Border |
Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have fuzzy, irregular borders.
|· 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 mm in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser) while normal moles will usually be 6 mm or smaller.
|· E – Evolution |
The evolution of a mole or growth is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to diagnosing skin cancer. That’s why it’s essential for individuals to take note of what is normal for their bodies. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and/or size, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist right away.
Images of skin cancer
Want to see examples of these symptoms? We have collected a set of verified skin cancer pictures here.