Before summer hits, it is important to become familiar with your skin. Examine your body from head to toe and identify any suspicious lesions. Performing a self-examination can help detect and beat potential skin cancers, including melanoma. Melanoma can be confused with a non-cancerous mole if you do not know what characteristics to look for. Don’t worry, this month we will be discussing various visual features of melanoma that can help distinguish potentially dangerous spots from those that are harmless. Just remember the first 5 letters of the alphabet, ABCDE.
The ABCDE Rule for Skin Cancer
The ABCDE rule is an easy guide to determine if you need to have a mole checked. Let’s take a look at what each letter means.
- A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole does not match the other.
B is for Border: The edges are irregular, notched, or blurred.
C is for Color: Color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across. There is a chance that melanoma can be smaller.
E is for Evolving: The mole is changing size, shape, or color.
The next time you perform a self-examination, just remember the ABCDE rule. While doing your self-examination, if you notice anything out of the ordinary on your body, please consult with your doctor right away.
Take a look at our skin cancer guide to learn more about different types of skin cancer and skin cancer prevention.