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What Are The Abcdes Of Skin Cancer

The Causes Of Melanoma

ABCDEs Of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is often the result of your exposure to the suns ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays of light. These rays contain radiation from the sun, which travel through the atmosphere and are responsible for melanoma and other skin conditions, such as premature aging and damage to your eyes.

While anyone can develop melanoma, you may be at increased risk for skin cancer if you have a family history of the condition. Other risk factors for melanoma include:

  • Frequent sunburns
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Spending a lot of time in the sun

Because the suns light rays cause skin cancer, its important that you always wear a high-quality, protective sunscreen that blocks these rays from damaging your skin.

Abcde Melanoma Detection Guide

A is for Asymmetry

Look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.

B is for Border

A spot with a spreading or irregular edge .

C is for Colour

Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.

D is for Diameter

Look for spots that are getting bigger.

E is for Evolving

Spots that are changing and growing.

These are some changes to look out for when checking your skin for signs of any cancer:

  • New moles.
  • Moles that increases in size.
  • An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
  • A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied.
  • A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
  • The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated.
  • Moles that itch or tingle.
  • Moles that bleed or weep.
  • Spots that look different from the others.

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Skin Cancer Screening Schedule

If you have developed new moles, or a close relative has a history of melanoma, you should examine your body once a month. Most moles are benign . Moles that are of greater medical concern include those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear in adulthood.

If you notice changes in a mole’s color or appearance, you should have a dermatologist evaluate it. You also should have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, appear scaly, or become tender or painful.

Most Deadly Type Of Skin Cancer

The ABCDE Rule of Skin Cancer


While melanoma is not the most common skin cancer, it is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma develops when the cells that give skin the tan or brown color begin to grow abnormally out of control. Melanoma is caused by a variety of factors, including exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds, but genetic and environmental factors can play a role as well.

Approximately 100,350 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Around 60% of those are in men. Anyone can get melanoma, however, if detected early, cure and survival rates dramatically improve. The most important warning sign of melanoma is a new spot on the skin or one that is changing in size, color or shape. This is why it is so important to do a monthly self skin exam and to have your health care provider examine your skin once a year. The following ABCDEs of skin cancer provide a good guideline. Any abnormalities should be reported to your health care provider immediately.

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What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk Of Skin Cancer

Protection from ultraviolet radiation is important all year, not just during the summer.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. UV rays come from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.

To lower your risk of getting skin cancer, you can protect your skin from UV rays from the sun and from artificial sources like tanning beds and sunlamps.

The Abcde Rule Of Skin Cancer

Checking your skin for suspicious changes can help identify melanoma in its earliest stages. This, in turn, can increase your chance for successful treatment.

The ABCDE Rule of skin cancer is not meant to be a tool for diagnosis but rather one by which individuals and healthcare providers can differentiate between a problem growth and a simple, everyday blemish.

The ABCDE Rule is broken down as follows:

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Colour Variability And Changing Colour

C is for Colour variability.

A melanocytic naevus usually has a single shade of colour or two colours with one occurring inside the other or regularly repeated .

Variation in colour of melanocytic naevi

Melanoma can be brown but can have as many as five or six colours such as blue, black, tan, grey, pink, and red: 50% of melanomas include these uncommon colours. These colours are unevenly or irregularly distributed. C is also for Changing Colour.

Variation in colour of melanoma

How Do I Do A Skin Self

Skin Cancer Signs: The ABCDEs of Melanoma

To check your skin, use a full-length mirror to examine your entire body, front and back. Then, raise your arms and look at your right and left sides.

Bend your elbows and carefully check your forearms, underarms and palms. Look at the backs of your legs and feet, between your toes, and the soles of your feet. With nail polish removed, check your fingernails and toenails, as well.

Use a hand mirror to check the back of your neck and scalp, and part your hair for a closer look. Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror. Ask a partner to help check your back and other hard-to-see areas.

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What Other Skin Lesions Might Have Abcdefg Features

The ABCDEFG criteria are not very specific for melanoma, as some or all of the criteria may be displayed by another skin cancer, such as a pigmented basal cell carcinoma or pigmented squamous cell carcinoma.

Malignant melanoma mimics

A benign lesion can be asymmetrical in shape, have an irregular border, colour variation, and be different. Examples include congenital melanocytic naevus, atypical melanocytic naevus, solar lentigo, or seborrhoeic keratosis.

Melanocytic naevi can also evolve in some circumstances such as darkening after exposure to the sun, during pregnancy, and become more elevated with age seborrhoeic keratoses and solar lentigines routinely evolve over time.

Clinicians trained in dermoscopy can often correctly diagnose skin lesions, but sometimes a biopsy will be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Benign melanoma mimics

What Should I Look For When Examining My Moles

Examine your skin with a mirror. Pay close attention to areas of your skin that are often exposed to the sun, such as the hands, arms, chest, and head.

The following ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be skin cancer. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half
  • Border: The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular
  • Color: The mole has different colors or it has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red
  • Diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil
  • Evolving: The mole appears different from others and/or changing in size, color, shape

Keep in mind that some melanomas may be smaller or not fit other characteristics.You should always be suspicious of a new mole. If you do notice a new mole, see your dermatologist as soon as possible. They will examine the mole and take a skin biopsy . If it’s skin cancer, a biopsy can show how deeply it has penetrated the skin. Your dermatologist needs this information to decide how to treat the mole.

The most common location for melanoma in men is the back in women, it is the lower leg.


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What You Can Do

Check yourself: No matter your risk, examine your skin head-to-toe once a month to identify potential skin cancers early. Take note of existing moles or lesions that grow or change. Learn how to check your skin here.

When in doubt, check it out. Because melanoma can be so dangerous once it advances, follow your instincts and visit your doctor if you see a spot that just doesnt seem right.

Keep in mind that while important, monthly self-exams are not enough. See your dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam.

If youve had a melanoma, follow up regularly with your doctor once treatment is complete. Stick to the schedule your doctor recommends so that you will find any recurrence as early as possible.

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Abcde Of Melanoma Skin Cancer

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Skin Cancer is an ...
  • A is for Asymmetry If you draw a line through the middle of the mole or spot on your skin, do the halves line up?
  • B is for Border Are the borders of the mole or spot irregular, scalloped, or hard to define?
  • C is for Color Is the color of the mole or spot inconsistent, with shades of tan, brown, red, black, dark brown, or blue?
  • D is for Diameter How large is the mole? Melanomas are typically larger than 6mm .
  • E is for Evolving Has the mole or spot changed overtime, such as becoming larger or changing color? Keep an eye out for a mole or skin growth that looks different from others on your body or changes in appearance over time.

These are all characteristics, warning signs, and symptoms our board-certified dermatologists look for when diagnosing and classifying melanomas.

Furthermore, the ABCDEs of melanoma help you to identify Ugly Duckling moles and spots. This skin cancer identification tip is based on the thought that moles on the body look similar to one another, while melanoma moles appear peculiar or stand out from those around them.

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A Dangerous Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that begins in cells known as melanocytes. While it is less common than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma , melanoma is more dangerous because of its ability to spread to other organs more rapidly if it is not treated at an early stage.

Learn more about melanoma types, risk factors, causes, warning signs and treatment.

Melanoma Fact

Only 20-30% of melanomas are found in existing moles.

While 70-80% arise on normal-looking skin.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your skin such as a new growth, a sore that doesnt heal, a change in an old growth, or any of the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma.

A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This could be a new growth, a sore that doesnt heal, or a change in a mole.external icon Not all skin cancers look the same.

For melanoma specifically, a simple way to remember the warning signs is to remember the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma

  • A stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • B stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • C is for color. Is the color uneven?
  • D is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • E is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your skin such as a new growth, a sore that doesnt heal, a change in an old growth, or any of the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma.

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What Is The Melanoma Abcde Rule

In dermatology, many organizations and providers, including the The Skin Cancer Foundation and American Academy of Dermatology, use the ABCDE rule when looking for signs of skin cancer. This rule helps individuals, like you and me, better remember common characteristics of melanoma by thinking about them alphabetically.

ABCDE stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving, which are all characteristics you should look out for in moles and spots when examining your skin.

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ABCDEs of Skin Cancer Detection | All-County Dermatology

May 15, 2020

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. There are three types of skin cancer basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma only accounts for 1% of all skin cancers, but it is responsible for most deaths related to skin cancer. However, all three types are treatable when detected early.Changes in your skin may appear suddenly or develop on an already existing mole. If you notice something new or a change in your skin, you should consult with your doctor or dermatologist.According to the American Academy of Dermatology, if you notice a mole on your skin, you should follow the ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.
  • Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
  • Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Different shades of tan, brown or black are often present. Dashes of red, white, and blue can add to the mottled appearance.
  • Diameter: While melanomas are usually larger than 6mm in diameter when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
  • Evolving: The mole or skin lesion looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

The main cause for these types of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet light. According to the CDC, the three types of UV rays are ultraviolet A , ultraviolet B , and ultraviolet C :

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What Are The Four Main Types Of Melanoma Of The Skin

Superficial spreading melanoma

What you should know: This is the most common form of melanoma.

How and where it grows: It can arise in an existing mole or appear as a new lesion. When it begins in a mole that is already on the skin, it tends to grow on the surface of the skin for some time before penetrating more deeply. While it can be found nearly anywhere on the body, it is most likely to appear on the torso in men, the legs in women and the upper back in both.

What it looks like: It may appear as a flat or slightly raised and discolored, asymmetrical patch with uneven borders. Colors include shades of tan, brown, black, red/pink, blue or white. It can also lack pigment and appear as a pink or skin-tone lesion .

Lentigo maligna

What you should know: This form of melanoma often develops in older people. When this cancer becomes invasive or spreads beyond the original site, the disease is known as lentigo maligna melanoma.

How and where it grows: This form of melanoma is similar to the superficial spreading type, growing close to the skin surface at first. The tumor typically arises on sun-damaged skin on the face, ears, arms or upper torso.

What it looks like: It may look like a flat or slightly raised, blotchy patch with uneven borders. Color is usually blue-black, but can vary from tan to brown or dark brown.

Acral lentiginous melanoma

What you should know: This is the most common form of melanoma found in people of color, including individuals of African ancestry.

Do You Know The Abcdes Of Melanoma Cumberland Dermatologist Explains

Take a moment to look at your skin. Do you see any suspicious spots or abnormal looking moles? Do you know what warning signs and symptoms to be looking out for when self-examining your skin for melanoma?

While this form of skin cancer is one of the rarest, it has the highest chance of spreading to other parts of the body, making it one of the most dangerous.

This is why its important to become more familiar with the ABCDEs of melanoma so you can better understand how this skin cancer, as well as other types, show up on the skin. Learn more by reading our dermatologists guide below.

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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 its 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 its 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.

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The Abcdes Of Melanoma


The first five letters of the alphabet are a guide to help you recognize the warning signs of melanoma.

A is for Asymmetry. Most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle of the lesion, the two halves dont match, so it looks different from a round to oval and symmetrical common mole.

B is for Border. Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders.

C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colors red, white or blue may also appear.

D is for Diameter or Dark. While its ideal to detect a melanoma when it is small, its a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser or larger. Some experts say it is also important to look for any lesion, no matter what size, that is darker than others. Rare, amelanotic melanomas are colorless.

E is for Evolving. Any change in size, shape, color or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.

If you notice these warning signs, or anything NEW, CHANGING or UNUSUAL on your skin see a dermatologist promptly.

A is for Asymmetry

D is for Diameter or Dark

E is for Evolving

E is for Evolving

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