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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 is for Asymmetry
One half of the spot is unlike the other half.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Border
B is for Border
The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Color
C is for Color
The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Diameter
D is for Diameter
While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Types>Melanoma>Symptoms>Evolving
E is for Evolving
The spot 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


All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

Supported by:Public>Diseases>Skin-cancer>Neutrogena sponsor

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