What to look for: ABCDEs of melanoma

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.

 
Darrell Rigel, MD, explains why dermatologists created the 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:

what-to-look-for-asymmetry.jpg
  A = Asymmetry
One half is unlike the other half.
     
what-to-look-for-border.jpg
  B = Border
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
     
what-to-look-for-color.jpg
  C = Color
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
     
what-to-look-for-diameter.jpg
  D = Diameter
Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
     
what-to-look-for-evolving.jpg
E = Evolving
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

If you notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.