The A,B,C,D,Es of Melanoma


With stay-at-home orders across the country, people are spending more time than ever in their backyards, walking in their neighborhoods (at a safe distance from others), and wrapping up a little outdoor spring cleaning. While this may offer a breath of fresh air and a welcome break from being inside all day, it’s important not to forget what the sun can be doing to your skin. That’s why we will be spotlighting Skin Cancer Awareness all month long.

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the U.S. While highly curable, the most common types—squamous and basal cell carcinomas—are costly and painful to treat. Melanoma, which is the third most common type, can be deadly. It’s more important than ever to protect your skin from too much sun and UV light exposure. Always take precautions when spending time outdoors.

How to Identify Skin Cancer

What if you already have the first signs of skin cancer? What are the symptoms? While most moles and spots on your skin are problem-free, there are times when they are offer the first sign of a greater concern. Identifying melanoma at an early stage is paramount to your chances of finding a cure. That’s why it’s important to make a regular habit of checking your whole body for spots and any changes in your moles.

The best way to remember what to look for when checking your body for signs of skin cancer is to think of the A, B, C, D, Es of melanoma:

The 5 Signs of Melanoma: (ABCDE’s)

A is for Asymmetry

Melanomas are most likely asymmetrical, which means if you drew a line down the middle, the two sides wouldn’t match. A common mole, on the other hand, would look more oval or round.

B is for Border

Look for scalloped or notched edges when checking for melanoma. Common moles would have smoother borders.

C is for Color

If your spot is more than one color, take note. Melanomas can be different shades of brown, tan, black, white, red, or even blue.

D is for Diameter or Dark

You always want to detect a melanoma before it has grown, but if you find a spot the size of a pencil eraser or larger, call your derm. You should also identify any moles notably darker than the others on your body.

E is for Evolving

If you notice a change in shape, size, color, or elevation of any spot, or if it begins bleeding, itching, or crusting, you could have melanoma.

If you’re not sure about any of the above, call one of our board-certified dermatologists and have your body checked regularly for warning signs of melanoma. Early identification is the most important thing. Talk to a board-certified dermatologist or request a virtual consultation with The Derm Group online or by calling 973.571.2121.