Donate For AAD Members Search

American Academy of Dermatology Logo
Welcome!
Advertisement
Advertisement

What to look for: ABCDEs of melanoma


Download the AAD's body mole map to note the results of your self-examination. Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots exhibit:

Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Asymmetry
A = Asymmetrical shape
If you could fold the spot in half, the sides would not match.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Border
B = Uneven border
Moles tend to have a smooth, even border. By contrast, melanoma tends to have a jagged (or uneven) border.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Color
C = Color
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Diameter
D = Diameter
Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Evolving
E = Evolving
 A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

Learn how the ABCDEs of melanoma were created

The history behind the of ABCDEs of melanoma

Darrell Rigel, MD, explains why dermatologists created the ABCDEs of melanoma.

How to check your skin for skin cancer

Follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists to increase your chances of spotting skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable.

If you notice any new spots on your skin, spots that are different from others, or spots that are changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

How to check your skin for skin cancer

Follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists to increase your chances of spotting skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable.

If you notice any new spots on your skin, spots that are different from others, or spots that are changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

Related AAD resources

Advertisement
Advertisement
Find a dermatologist by location
Advanced search
Find a dermatologist by name
Advanced search