ABCDEs of melanoma skin cancer

Picture of the ABCDs of melanoma

Source: NCI Visuals Online. Skin Cancer Foundation. http://visualsonline.cancer.gov/about.cfm

The ABCDEs of melanoma skin cancer are:

  • Asymmetry. One half doesn't match the appearance of the other half.
  • Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • Color. The color (pigmentation) is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to a mottled appearance.
  • Diameter. The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm), about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated.
  • Evolution. There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or color of a mole.

Last Updated: December 5, 2008

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

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